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V. 3 



flgfffi 083 795 2 

Tre-velyan, Sir George Otto 
he iiaerican Revolution 

Vol. 3 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 
Brigham Young University-Idaho 


Volume III 

By SIR G. 0. TREVELYAK, Bart., O.M. 


In Six Volumes. Crown 8vo 

* • • • 

Separately, as follows : — 

Volume I., with Portrait and Map .... 

Volume IL, with Two Maps 

Volume III., with Map and Complete Index to Volumes I.-III. 

Crown 8vo «... 
Volume IV., Saratoga and Brandywine, Valley 
Forge, England and France at War. 
Crown 8vo, with Three Maps and Index 

The Concluding Part of "The American Revolution." 
In Two Volumes. Crown 8vo. Qoth, gilt top. 

Volume I., with a Map 

Volume IL, with Map and Index to both Volumes 








Volume III 





Copyright, 1903, by 

Copyright, 1905, by 


First Edition (Part II. Vol. 2), printed June, 1903. 
Reprinted January, 1904. 

New Edition (Volume 3), revised and rearranged January, 1905 
Reprinted, with revisions, September, 1907; May, 1908; Sep- 

tember, 1909, and January, 1915. 
New Edition, revised, April, 1917; December, 1921. 





The Forts on the Hudson I 

Defeat of the Americans, and capture of Fort Washington . 5 

Treatment of the Prisoners ....... 9 

\ J ^ Washington's distress of mind 12 

Lord Cornwallis 13 

Capture of Fort Lee 17 

04 American Retreat through the Jerseys 18 

^ Washington crosses the Delaware 21 

^ Miserable condition of his Army 23 


The Apathy of New Jersey 27 

^o^., Hessian Outrages 29 

Contrast between Howe and Wellington .... 36 


Charles Lee's early history 41 

His attitude towards his brother officers 45 

His disobedience to Washington's orders . ... 49 

Lee and Colonel Reed • • . 54 

^Washington's self-control 56 

The Condition of Philadelphia . . • . . •59 

Howe goes into winter quarters 63 

Lee and Harcourt . 67 

Sullivan joins Washington 71 

Colonel Knox and Colonel Glover 73 

Temper of the American soldiers 78 





Distribution of the Royal Army ; Rail and his brigade 
The Delaware river .... 

'Washington's Intelligence Department . 
He resolves to take the offensive . 

Washington's plan of action . 

Crossing the Delaware .... 

The state of things inside Trenton 

The Battle ...... 

Surrender of the Hessians 

Return of the Americans ; the losses of either 

Reception of the news in Europe . 

Effect of the Battle on America 


Washington obtains supplies of men and money 

He re-crosses the Delaware into New Jersey . 

Cornwallis comes Southward in force 

Grave peril of the American Army ; Washington's flank march 

Princeton ....... 

Washington's march to Morristown 
Howe concentrates his Army and abandons the open country 
The increase to Washington's reputation and authority . 
He re-organises the Army 








1 12 





Apprehensions entertained about the bearing of the American 

question on English Liberty 
Chatham ; Burke ; Horace Walpole 
The Jacobites ..... 

Count de Maltzan and Frederic the Great 

Feeling in France 

The modem American view . 

The Duke of Richmond .... 




Difficulty of ascertaining the condition of contemporary English 

opinion 163 



The London Press 165 

Immunity enjoyed by the Opposition writers . • • . 168 

The King and the Newspapers 172 

Powerful criticism upon the conduct of the war . . .176 
The feeling in England towards the Revolutionary Generals . 178 

Popular suspicion of Lord Bute's influence . • . .181 
English prejudice against the Scotch 184 


The City of London 190 

The Press for Seamen 192 

Feeling of business men In the City 199 

Opinion in Birmingham 201 

Hon. Augustus Keppel and Sir Jeffrey Amherst . . . 202 
Conway ........... 203 

Chatham and his son ........ 205 

Lord Effingham and Lord Frederic Cavendish . . . 207 
Granville Sharp and John Cartwright . . . . .210 

The growing unpopularity of the War . . . . .215 


The talk of society 220 

The Loyalist exiles ......... 226 

Samuel Curwen ......... 227 

Poverty of the refugees ; their regrets for home, and their 

social discomfort ........ 229 

Their distress at the hostility between the two nations . . 234 

Anxiety about the future of England 236 

Contemporary Historians ; William Robertson . . . 239 

David Hume ; Edward Gibbon 241 

Mrs. Macaulay 246 



Edmund Burke as the leading authority on the American 

Revolution 249 

The pamphleteers : Dean Tucker ; Shebbeare . . . 253 

Doctor Johnson ; " Taxation no Tyranny " .... 256 

John Wesley at first in favour of conciliating America . . 259 

Appearance of the '•' Calm Address " 260 

Wesley becomes the centre of a fierce Controversy . . . 264 


The religious aspect of the American dispute .... 266 

Ecclesiastical institutions in the Colonies .... 267 

Evils and inconveniences arising to the English Church from 

the want of Episcopal supervision in America . . . 272 

The Churches in the Northern provinces .... 275 

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts 280 

The Question of a Bishop in America : Jonathan Mayhew . 283 

Part taken by the Whig clergy when the War broke out . . 289 

The personal influence of the Ministers ..... 292 

Episcopalian Clergymen . 296 

Episcopalian laymen ; George Washington .... 302 

Course adopted by the Virginian assembly .... 304 

Religious equality everywhere established .... 306 

John Wesley's Bishops 307 

Final Solution of the difficulties which had beset the Episcopal 

Church in America . •. 310 




I. Extracts from Colonel Markham's Journal 

II. An Imaginary Conversation . 

III. The English Church in Virginia . 

IV. Dean Tucker on American Bishops 




At the end of the volume 

Map of the Northern part of New Jersey, and of New York and 
its Environs. 



The third volume of the " American Revolution " has been altered, 
and reprinted, as a consequence of the wiiJulrawal of certain matter 
which, though not irrelevant, was somewhat in excess of the general 
scheme of the history. The four volumes of the " American Revo- 
lution,'' and the two volumes of '• (ieorge the Third and Charles 
Fox," are now in their final shape and will never again he retouched 
by their author, nor ( he sincerely hopes) by anyone else after he himself 
has passed away. Those six volumes, as read together, tell the 
whole story, in America and in Kurope, from the imposition of the 
Customs Duties by the British Parliament in June 1767, down to the 
fall of Lord North's Ministry in March 17S2. The story is complete ; 
it has been written with an honest tlesire to be fair and in)partial ; 
it may be read with self-respect, and mutual respect, both by English- 
men and Americans; and it throws a bright and striking light on 
the motives of the war in which all English-speaking pe()j)les arc 
henceforward fighting shoulder to shoulder. The descendants of 
the farmers who turned out to defend their country at Lexington and 
Bunker Hill, and the descendants of the adversaries who did their 
best to defeat them in honourable and chivalrous battle, are shocke<l 
and revolted by the cruel and high-handed theory that the alleged 
resistance in arms to the invader of certain Belgian civilians justified 
the devastation, the plunder, the torture, and the enslavement of 

Geokge Otto Trevelyan. 

Stratford -on-Avon, 

May, 191 7. 




The war was soon transported into the heart of New 
Jersey ; for the British Commander-in-Chief had very 
speedily, and very successfully, completed the business 
that detained him on the east shore of the Hudson 
river. Those arrangements which Washington had 
made, with the view of encountering all possible emer- 
gencies,^ were workmanlike, and might even be pro- 
nounced faultless, save and except in one important 
particular. Public attention in the States had been 
keenly interested by a scheme of defence for the pro- 
tection of the Hudson, — the great water highway of 
New York State. P'our or five miles north of Haerlem 
in the island of Manhattan, at a point where the current 
was not more than a mile in breadth, a work called 
Fort Washington had been erected on a bluff that ov^er- 
hung the river. On the opposite bank stood Fort Lee ; 
and up-stream, on the safe side of these strongholds, 
the American authorities, with energy much inferior to 
Arnold's, had collected and armed a small flotilla. For 
further security, athwart the river and between the 
forts, a barricade had been constructed of which all 
good patriots spoke with pride and confidence under 
the imposing title of the *' sunken chevaux-de-frise ; " 

1 Washington's disposition of his forces is shortly described on page 
337 of the last volume. 

VOL. lu. B 


although sceptics alleged that Washington's engineers 
had shirked the difficulty of extending it across that 
part of the channel where the current ran strongest. 
On the sixth of October three British men-of-war came 
up the Hudson with a southerly wind, under a smart, 
and not altogether ineffective, fire from the batteries. 
They sailed through, or over, or, (as was strongly sus- 
pected afterwards,) round, the chevaux-de-frise, without 
perceiving that any such obstacle existed ; and, when 
they had reached the upper waters, they made very 
short work of the American naval preparations. They 
drove ashore, or captured, four or five ships and galleys ; 
and they sank a sloop containing an ingenious machine 
for blowing up the British fleet. The inventor had 
designed his contrivance to act under water ; and under 
water it went, and to this hour it there remains. The 
joyous and elastic national temperament, which has 
done so much towards carrying America through many 
a crisis, discerned in this untoward event nothing worse 
than a presage of future triumphs. Congress desired 
General Washington, now that the British ships were 
entrapped above his forts, to take good care they never 
either got back again themselves, nor were reinforced 
from the main fleet which lay below. But, in plain 
truth, both before and afterwards, Lord Howe's captains 
made no account whatever of the perils which beset 
them in thefr passage up and down the river. An offi- 
cer who did not mind a few holes in his sails, and a very 
few casualties in his crew, so far as the safety of his 
vessel was concerned might travel the Hudson as 
securely as the Humber ; and much more securely than, 
without the aid of a good local pilot, he would have 
threaded the sand-banks of the Mersey. 

The maintenance, or abandonment, of the two 
American stations on the Hudson river was therefore 
a problem to be determined in no sense by naval, 
but exclusively by military, considerations. Nathanael 
Greene was entrusted with the care of both the places, 
which were garrisoned by near five thousand men, of 


whom somewhat the larger part were at Fort Washing- 
ton. To keep that force cooped up on Manhattan Island, 
without any reasonable hope of escape in case of an 
attack which it was impossible successfully to resist, was 
an awful risk to run. Mount Washington, (as the 
general after whom it was named sometimes called it,) 
was not a fortress which, like Quebec, could only be 
captured by a regular siege, or reduced by famine. It 
was an open work, bordered on three sides by heights, 
and of small extent, which a few hours of shell-fire would 
render quite untenable. It was, indeed, surrounded by 
an exterior position partially fortified, and so strong by 
nature that one of General Howe's officers asserted that 
all the world could not have taken it from ten thousand 
Englishmen.^ But that outer circuit of defence had a 
front of more than six miles ; Colonel Magaw, the 
American who was in charge on the spot, had barely 
the fourth of ten thousand men at his disposal ; and that 
force, while utterly inadequate to the task imposed upon 
it, was much larger than Washington could afford to 
throw away in order to comply with the behests, and 
save the self-respect, of Congress. 

The politicians, who sate at the Board of war in Phila- 
delphia, had planned the operations of that summer 
with the declared object of holding New York City, and 
barring the mouth of the Hudson river against a British 
fleet ; and the evacuation of Fort W^ashington would be, 
in their eyes, nothing short of an admission that their 
campaign had finally and totally failed. Congress, bent 
on keeping the place, proclaimed their opinion by a vote 
which was equivalent to a peremptory injunction; and 

1 "About noon a young officer, smartly dressed and well mounted, rode 
up with his horse in a foam, and, pulling out his watch, observed that he 
had scarcely been an hour in coming from New York. He was a genuine, 
smooth-faced, fresh-coloured Englishman ; and from the elegance of his 
horse, and importance of his manner, I supposed him to be a person of 
family and consideration. ' Becket,' (said he, looking around him,) * this 
is a damned strong piece of ground. Ten thousand of our men would de- 
fend it against the world.' " Memoirs of a Life chiefly passed in Pennsyl' 
vania; chapter viii. 

B 2 


that injunction Greene, for his part, was keenly desirous 
to obey. He was in love with Fort Washington. To 
blockade it effectively, (according to his computation,) 
would cost the hostile army a number of troops at least 
double what would suffice for the American garrison ; ^ 
and if, instead of an investment, the English preferred 
to try an assault by force, he bade them a hearty wel- 
come. For Howe was not the only general whose tac- 
tics were injuriously modified by a false analogy drawn 
from the recollections of Bunker's Hill. Nathanael 
Greene was still under an illusion that his countrymen, 
behind a breastwork, could inflict cruel punishment on 
an attacking force under all circumstances, and against 
any odds. His notion, (we are told,) was that, after 
slaughtering a host of the enemy, the Americans might 
methodically withdraw into the citadel of Fort Wash- 
ington : and then, provided each had killed his man, 
they might be snugly shipped across the Hudson, and 
rejoin their main army with flying colours.^ 

Such, and so sanguine, were General Greene's antici- 
pations ; but, after all, Greene did not command the 
Continental army. The occasion was one on which 
Washington ought to have enforced his own views 
against his military subordinate, and his political 
superiors ; and concerning the nature of those views 
there exists no doubt at all. On the eighth of Novem- 
ber the Commander-in-Chief wrote to Greene that, inas- 
much as British vessels could not be prevented from 
passing up the stream, and British troops possessed all 
the surrounding country, no benefit could be expected 
from the retention of the fortress on Manhattan Island. 
"I am therefore inclined to think," (he continued,) 
" that it will not be prudent to hazard the men and 
stores at Mount Washington ; but, as you are on the 
spot, I leave it to you to give such orders as to evacu- 
ating Mount Washington as you may judge best, and 
so far revoking the order given to Colonel Magaw to 

^ Greene to Washington ; Fort Lee, November 9, 1776. 
^ Pennsylvanian Memoirs ; chapter vii. 


defend it to the last." Having despatched those lines, — 
which indicated a confidence in Greene that for once 
was misplaced, and a diffidence of himself, — Washing- 
ton departed northwards on a visit to General Heath's 
quarters, and minutely examined the site for a new 
fortress near West Point. The orders which he left 
with Greene were, (to use his own epithet,) discretion- 
ary ; ^ and the person upon whom the chief blame for 
those calamities, which promptly supervened, should 
rest has been a theme of frequent controversy. All that 
can certainly be said on the matter is that two very 
good generals contrived between them to commit a 
very signal blunder ; and that Washington, as his rule 
was, insisted on assuming the responsibihty for every- 
thing which went wrong under his auspices. 

On the fifteenth of November Howe sent his Adjutant 
General to demand the surrender of Fort Washington, 
and reminded Colonel Magaw that, when an intrench- 
ment had been carried by assault, it was difficult to 
prevent too free a use of the bayonet during the first 
moments of victory. Magaw returned an answer which 
Washington praised as a spirited refusal ; ^ but the de- 
fiant tone of the reply was in excess of what the sum- 
mons provoked, and most certainly beyond anything 
that the issue of the conflict justified. The American 
commandant interpreted the British general's humane 
and reasonable warning as a threat that the garrison 
would be massacred ; and, with a glowing appeal to the 
justice of his cause, he proclaimed his intention of de- 
fending the post to the very last extremity. That ex- 
tremity was not far off. At noon on the next day, 
under cover of a heavy cannonade which had begun in 
the early morning, the British army stormed in from 
every quarter except the west. To the south in the 
direction of Haerlem, Lord Percy, on a horse which soon 
was twice wounded, led his command into action, and 

1 George Washington to John Augustine Washington ; Hackensac, 
November 19, 1776. 

2 Washington to the President of Congress ; November 16, 1776, 


came into collision with an advanced party of the Ameri- 
cans, so isolated and exposed that there was an interval 
of two miles between them and their nearest supports. 
Into this gap Howe despatched three regiments of in- 
fantry in boats across the Haerlem river. The Forty- 
second Highlanders, who were the earliest on shore, 
swarmed up a steep path under a deadly fire, which laid 
low nearly a hundred men and officers ; beat off their 
immediate adversaries ; and, scouring fleetly over hill and 
dale, took Lord Percy's opponents in the rear, and se- 
cured then and there a considerable number of prisoners. 
One of those prisoners, who was a cool fellow, remarked 
on a circumstance which he noticed even in that moment 
of hurry and dismay. *' Not less than ten guns were 
discharged with their muzzles towards us, within the 
distance of forty or fifty yards ; and some were let off 
within twenty. Luckily for us, it was not our riflemen 
to whom we were targets. I obsen'ed they took no 
aim, and the moment of presenting and firing was the 
same." ^ 

The Royal soldiers, however wild might be their shoot- 
ing, everywhere showed great alacrity in coming to close 
quarters with the enemy. General Mathew and Lord 
Cornwallis brought seven battalions over Haerlem creek 
in flat-bottomed boats ; made good their footing on the 
eastern shore of ALinhattan Island; and pressed stead- 
ily inland, losing men, and capturing positions. To the 
north of the fort the struggle was severe and bloody ; 
for there the Provincials were in some strength, and on 
ground exceptionally suited to their method of warfare. 
General Knyphausen and his Hessians advanced from 
King's Bridge in two columns ; waded through a deep 
marsh ; and climbed a precipitous rocky hill which rose 
behind it. The acclivity was so steep in places that the 
men had to pull themselves up by aid of the bushes. 
They were in heavy marching order ; and that, in the 
case of German infantry, was heavy indeed. A grena- 
dier went into action in a high cap, fronted with an im- 

^ Pennsylvanian Memoirs ; chapter viii. 


mense brass plate ; a very long-skirted coat ; a canteen 
which held a gallon ; and a sword of enormous size, 
that had never killed anything except the calf or pig of 
a Loyalist farmer. But beneath these absurd trappings 
there was, on this occasion, no lack of martial ardour. 
The generals themselves led the way, pulling down 
fences with their own hands ; and the private men 
never turned back, but went forwards and upwards 
wherever they could find a chance. At length they 
stood victorious on the top, in sorely diminished num- 
ber ; for between the foot and the summit, more than 
three hundred of them had been killed or wounded.^ 

Their loss, (wrote one of their officers,) was far greater 
than that of the adversary, from the manner in which 
the rebels fought. They lay singly behind stone-walls, 
and boulders, and the trunks of trees which had been 
felled as obstacles ; they shot at long range, and with 
certainty ; and they ran away very fast as soon as they 
had discharged their weapons. The Germans, on the 
other hand, could not shoot a third so far ; and still less 
were they able to catch up their opponents when it came 
to running. ^ Nevertheless the Provincial skirmishers, 
with whatever agility they might retreat, very soon 
reached the further end of their course. By this time 
the Americans had been driven inwards, from far and 
near, over the whole circle of the battle. Breathless 
and disheartened, they poured into the fort, and hud- 

1 According to one most competent and trustworthy observer, Knyp- 
hausen's people were even more heavily laden than with the ordinary bur- 
den of their regulation accoutrements. " Every private," wrote Colonel 
Enoch Markham, " carried a fascine before him in one hand, while he 
scaled with the other. In some places only one man could get up at a 
time, who assisted the man in the rear with his vacant hand. The Hes- 
sians and Waldecks most deservedly received the highest praise for this 
action." Another English officer, (employing one of those not very rec- 
ondite classical allusions which, even in the less learned professions, were 
a mannerism of that day,) said that Hannibal, in his passage over the 
Alps, could not have met with ground more formidable than what fell to 
the lot of the Germans to assail. 

2 Account by the Quartermaster of the Grenadier Battalion von Min* 


died together behind ramparts which would become 
nothing better than the walls of a slaughter-house as 
soon as the British could bring up a single battery of 
howitzers. The affair in the commencement had re- 
sembled the escalade of the heights of Spichcren ; and 
it now assumed the complexion of a miniature Sedan. 
Colonel Magaw, as his superior officer ought long ere 
this to have anticipated, was forced to abandon all hope 
of cutting a path through the serried array of excellent 
troops by whom he was surrounded ; — even apart from 
the consideration that the breadth and depth of the 
Hudson river in any case lay between him and safety. 

Nothing now remained for the Americans except an 
immediate and unconditional surrender. The garrison, 
— to the number of nearer three, than two, thousand, — 
marched out between the ranks of the regiments Rail 
and von Lossberg ; laid down their arms ; and gave up 
their white, and yellow, and light blue standards. Al- 
ready, on Long Island, the Germans had captured a 
flag of bright scarlet damask, inscribed with the motto 
" Liberty ; " a word which to all these high-born servants 
of Grand Dukes, and Landgraves, and Prince Electors, 
seemed wonderfully out of place upon military colours. 
And the visible disdain with which now, at Fort Wash- 
ington, the victors regarded the somewhat fantastic 
banners of a brand-new republic, was remembered when, 
after an interval of only six weeks, the same two Hes- 
sian regiments again took their share, — with the parts 
reversed, — in a very similar ceremony. Howe, hand- 
somely enough, renamed the fortress after the German 
commander, to whose soldiers it was generally admitted 
that the honours of the day had fallen. The ill fortune 
which pursued our foreign auxiliaries, on all subsequent 
occasions when they were called upon to act indepen- 
dently, was so persistent and so notorious, that the char- 
ity of history has made the very utmost of their behaviour 
at Fort Washington. When the report of their exploit 
reached Waldeck and Hesse Cassel, their respective 
Sovereigns felt a thrill of conscious honesty at the 


thought that their royal brother of England had already 
got some value for his money. But, however joyful 
might be the sensations excited in the lesser capitals of 
Western Germany by the news that Germans had de- 
feated and captured Englishmen, pride and satisfaction 
were by no means universal in London. The glory ac- 
quired by Colonel Rail, (said Edmund Burke,) had no 
charms for him ; nor had he learned to delight at find- 
ing a Fort Knyphausen in the heart of the British do- 

Except for prisoners, the loss of the Americans was 
small. Colonel Markham, who went carefully over the 
ground when the action was concluded, saw very few 
of their dead bodies. The British never had the inten- 
tion, — and in the heat of success did not feel the 
smallest inclination, — to end a gallant fight with a scene 
of butchery. A Pennsylvanian captain, who was taken 
early in the affair by the Forty-second Highlanders, 
published a lifelike account of what happened on the 
sixteenth of November, and the days thereupon ensuing. 
It is an account which Englishmen may read with pleas- 
ure.^ This was the first complete and crushing victory 
obtained by our troops since the commencement of a 
war which in their view was a rebellion. Military cus- 
tom had long ago established humane, and often ami- 
cable, relations between conquerors and vanquished in 
the vicissitudes of a struggle conducted on both sides 
by regular European armies ; but the notion that Amer- 
ican insurgents possessed a title to friendly treatment, 

1 Valuable testimony to the authority of this narrative has recently been 
made public. In 1822 Colonel Cadwalader, who had been second in 
command under Magaw, was requested by Timothy Pickering, another 
veteran of the Revolution, to write down his reminiscences of Fort 
Washington. The old man replied that, after forty-five years, his memory 
was dim. ** I shall however," he said, " avail myself of a Statement, which 
I made in the year 181 1, at the Request of a Friend of mine, formerly a 
Captain in the 3rd Pennsylvania Battalion which I commanded in the 
War of the Revolution, who was writing a book entitled, * Memoirs of a 
Life chiefly passed in Pennsylvania within the last Sixty Years.'" Colo- 
nel Cadwalader's letter was printed by the Historical Society of Pennsyl- 
vania in July 1901, 


and fraternal hospitality, was very novel, and had never 
been statedly and officially recognised. On this point 
our officers had no specific orders to guide them. Each 
man acted in obedience to the dictates of his individual 
nature ; and the result proved that there was plenty of 
right feeling, and honourable self-control, within the 
British ranks. The Pennsylvanian prisoners first came 
into the custody of a decent looking sergeant. He pro- 
tected them from a Hessian who cursed them in bad 
English, and himself bestowed on them a friendly ad- 
monition in very broad Scotch. '* Young men," he said, 
*' ye never should fight against your King." ** The Httle 
bustle," (the author writes,) '* produced by our surrender 
was scarcely over, when a British officer, apparently of 
high rank, rode up at full gallop, exclaiming: 'What! 
Taking prisoners! Kill every man of them.' Although 
by this time there was none of that appearance of fe- 
rocity in the guard which would induce much fear that 
they would execute this command, I took off my hat 
saying: 'Sir, I put myself under your protection.' His 
manner was instantly softened. He met my salutation 
with an inclination of his body ; and, after a civil ques- 
tion or two, as if to make amends for his sanguinary 
mandate, he rode off towards the fort, to which he had 
enquired his way." 

That was the measure of British ferocity and im- 
placability. As the captives were passed on from one 
set of guardians to another, they sometimes got a surly 
or an insolent word ; and the subalterns of a smart 
Light Infantry regiment were moved to irrepressible 
mirth by the appearance and accent of an unrefined 
and untidy militia officer. But for the most part the 
prisoners met with reasonable civility, and very sub- 
stantial kindness. Soldiers brought them a constant 
supply of drinking-water, at great trouble to them- 
selves. Officers shared with them a small and pre- 
carious ration during that period of destitution which 
immediately succeeds a battle ; and sent them out gen- 
erous portions from the mess-tables when the tumbrels 


had come up from the rear, and viands were again 
abundant. The gentleman to whose charge they were 
finally entrusted was of a singularly amiable and chival- 
rous character. Lieutenant Becket, (for that was his 
name,) was courteous himself; and his example diffused 
an atmosphere of courtesy around him.^ No one within 
his hearing addressed the prisoners as ** rebels ; " and, 
if he had occasion to distinguish in conversation between 
the belligerents, he invariably made use of the expres- 
sions **your people," and "our people." When the 
Americans were formed up on the road to New York, 
between two lines of British infantry : " Come, gentle- 
men," he said; "we are all soldiers. To the right 
face ! March ! " and he walked the first half mile on 
the flank of the column with the air of a good-humoured 
comrade. At the end of their journey, as they drew 
near the city, they were encountered by a mob of dis- 
reputable women from the cantonments, who were 
enthusiastic and turbulent partisans of the cause which, 
after their fashion, they served. They crowded in upon 
the prisoners, calling out to know which of them was 
Washington, and assailing them with volleys of ribaldry ; 
until a disgusted, — and under the circumstances, a laud- 
ably plainspoken, — British colonel came to the rescue, 
and put the Amazons to rout.^ 

Lieutenant Becket informed his prisoners that he 
was forcibly struck with the poor condition of their 

1 " Mr. Becket applied to a gentleman on horseback, who had super- 
intended the interment of the dead, to know whether he had met with the 
body of an officer in the uniform I wore, as I was anxious for the fate of 
a brother who was missing. With much delicacy, addressing himself to 
me, he replied; *No, Sir, we buried no one with linen fine enough to 
have been your brother.' . . . An officer, wrapped up in a camlet cloak, 
young, and of very pleasing address, who had been talking with Becket, 
came to me observing that the evening was very cool, and asked if such 
weather was usual with us at this season of the year. He expressed his 
hope that I had been well treated. 'As well as possible,' I replied, *by 
some ; and as ill by others.' * I am extremely sorry for it : ' he said ; * but 
there are rascals in all services.' " In the British regiments there were 
not many such ; and those of no very deep dye. 

* Pennsylvanian Memoirs; chapter viii. 


troops, the badness of their muskets, and the insuffi- 
ciency, in every respect, of their appointments ; and 
he remarked that a gentleman serving in their army 
required more than an ordinary degree of fortitude to 
take the field under such disadvantages. But everything 
is a matter of comparison ; and the garrison at Fort 
Washington bore less resemblance to a flock of indif- 
ferently armed and ill-clothed irregulars than any other 
equally large section of the Provincial forces. The 
American Commander-in-Chief acknowledged that he 
had lost his most carefully trained, and most expen- 
sively equipped, regiments ; a considerable proportion 
of his artillery; and some of the very best arms he 
had. He witnessed the depressing scene from a high 
bank at Fort Lee, on the opposite side of the Hudson 
river,^ with keen self-reproach ; although he knew in 
his heart that the fault was not all his own. No plea 
of having acted under superior orders was put forward 
in the official report of the affair which he trans- 
mitted to the President of Congress : but a sense of 
personal wrong is indicated, — not angrily, and very 
sadly, — in a private letter to his brother. He there 
confessed that the hope of a successful termination to 
the campaign had been alive in his mind until Fort 
Washington fell. General Howe, (he said,) but for that 
unfortunate occurrence, would have had a poor tale to 
tell, and might have found it difficult to reconcile the 
people of England to the conquest of a few pitiful 
islands, none of which had ever been really defensible 
against a power whose fleet could at any moment 
surround, and render them unapproachable. " I 
solemnly protest," (Washington exclaimed,) "that a 
pecuniary reward of twenty thousand pounds a year 
would not induce me to undergo what I do ; and after 
all, perhaps, to lose my character; as it is impossible, 
under such a variety of distressing circumstances, to 
conduct matters agreeably to public expectation, or even 
to the expectation of those who employ me ; as they 

^ General Heath's Memoirs ; November i6, 1776. 


will not make proper allowances for the difficulties their 
own errors have occasioned." ^ 

Twenty thousand pounds a year would have made 
Washington just twice as rich as the then richest man 
in America ; but such a prize would have small tempta- 
tion to one who, (as he wrote in this very letter,) looked 
for no higher reward than to sit once more in the peace- 
able enjoyment of his own vine and fig tree, when the 
war should be over, and the country saved. That peace- 
ful hour was now indefinitely postponed ; and there was 
grave reason to doubt if it ever would arrive. The loss 
of Fort Washington, though not in itself a catastrophe, 
was one of those calamities which launched the weaker 
party on the downward road that almost inevitably leads 
to ruin ; and, (to make the matter more serious,) that 
portion of the British army which headed the advance, 
was commanded by a general of a higher stamp than 
any whom the Americans had yet encountered. 

Lord Cornwallis was an English aristocrat of the 
finest type. Over a vast space of time, and in many 
lands, he served the State in war, in politics, in diplo- 
macy, and in high administration. Whether or not he 
was exceptionally clever was a question which he had 
never in his life considered ; any more than he would 
have asked himself if he was brave and honest. Nor 
did his countrymen come to any very definite conclusion 
as to the pre-eminence and rarity of his abilities. It was 
enough for them that he was a man of immense and 
varied experience ; careful and industrious ; modest in 
success and equable in adversity ; enlightened, tolerant, 
and humane ; contemptuous of money, and indifferent 
to the outward badges of honour.^ What a consular of 

1 Washington to the President of Congress ; General Greene's Quarters, 
November 16, 1776. To John Augustine Washington ; Hackensac, No- 
vember 19, 1776. 

2 When, in the war against Tippoo Sahib, he took the field as Gov- 
ernor-General, Cornwallis found occasion to spend, from his own resources, 
near thirty thousand pounds in eighteen months; and yet he gave up his 
claim to not much less than fifty thousand pounds of prize money, which 


old Rome, in Rome's greatest days, is traditionally 
supposed to have been, that Cornwallis actually was. 
Throughout the whole of his long career he presented, 
first to his own, and then to a younger, generation, a liv- 
ing and most attractive example of antique and single- 
minded patriotism. In the House of Lords he had 
consistently opposed all schemes for the taxation and 
coercion of the colonists ; but, when they flew to arms, 
and he was called upon to fight against them, Corn- 
wallis held that, as a soldier, he was not at Hberty to 
disobey the order. If he had been Governor-General 
of New England during the years that Sir Guy Carleton 
was Governor of Canada, it is, humanly speaking, almost 
certain that there would have been no American rebel- 
lion. If, after hostilities broke out, he had been Com- 
mander-in-Chief instead of Sir William Howe and Sir 
Henry Clinton, it is quite certain that British strategy 
would have been far less halting and desultory. The 
energy and enterprise, which subsequently marked his 
two campaigns in the Carolinas, revived the dying credit 
of our national generalship ; and military students may 
still draw valuable lessons from the counter-operations 
which were planned with solid ability, and conducted 
with manly pertinacity, by Cornwallis on the one side, 
and by Nathanael Greene on the other. 

England's crowning misfortune in the American war 
will always be connected with the memory of Lord 
Cornwallis. And yet, when Yorktown fell, the respon- 
sibility for its loss was attributed, and rightly attributed, 
not to the general who capitulated, but to the Com- 

he left to be distributed among the troops. There is a hearty letter from 
Cornwallis to his son on the subject of the Garter, which was bestowed on 
*he Governor-General soon after his arrival at Calcutta. " I can assure 
you upon ray honour," he wrote, " that I neither asked for it nor wished 
for it. The reasonable object of ambition to a man is to have his name 
transmitted to posterity for eminent services rendered to his country and 
mankind. Nobody asks or cares whether Hampden, Marlborough, Pel- 
ham, or Wolfe were Knights of the Garter." When, in obedience to the 
mandate of the King, Cornwallis opposed Fox's East India Bill, he insisted 
on resigning the Constableship of the Tower, so that no man might sus- 
pect him of having voted with the Court in order to keep an office. 


mander-in-Chief at New York who had failed to support 
him, and to the First Lord of the Admiralty, whose 
scandalous mismanagement had resulted in the paralysis 
of our fleet at that moment of time when, and on the 
very spot where, the fortune of our empire was at stake. 
Sir Henry Clinton was recalled. In the House of 
Commons a very narrow majority indeed saved Lord 
Sandwich from a motion for inquiry into his adminis- 
tration of the Navy during the year 1781 ; and that 
motion, if successful, was to have been followed by an 
impeachment. But Parliament showed no inclination 
to bring Lord Cornwallis to account ; all parties united in 
a strong desire as soon as possible to re-employ him;^ and, 
after no long while, the Governor-Generalship of our East- 
ern possessions was forced upon his reluctant acceptance. 
There he played a famous part ; and, (although some fea- 
tures of his internal policy have been gravely questioned,) 
his probity and public spirit communicated to the Govern- 
ment of India that high and pure tone which, to the 
abiding honour of the British name, it has ever since 
retained. In 1798 he quelled the rebellion, and defeated 
a French invasion, in Ireland. With a courage all his 
own, and an authority which no man else could have 
exercised, he discountenanced, and greatly mitigated, 
the severities demanded and practised by the dominant 
party in that unhappy island. As plenipotentiary in 
Paris he negotiated the Peace of Amiens ; and at the last, 
an old broken man, in his country's need and in quiet sub- 
mission to her call, he sailed once more for India to die. 

^ Very striking testimony to the esteem in which Cornwallis was held, 
subsequently to his misfortune at Yorktown, comes from two exactly 
opposite quarters. Soon after he landed in England, while he was still a 
prisoner on parole, the approbation and confidence of George the Third 
were conveyed to him in a most generous letter, written throughout by the 
royal hand. A year later Charles Fox referred to Lord Cornwallis in the 
House of Commons, at a time when the two old friends had become politi- 
cal opponents. The name of such a man, (said the orator,) might make 
Parliament consent to the voting of very extensive powers in a Governor- 
General of India; but he was certain that nothing but the great character 
of that noble Lord could ever induce the Legislature to commit such 
power to one individual, at the distance of half the globe. 


In November 1776 Lord Cornwallis was at the very 
top of his physical and mental powers. The Prince de 
Ligne, who knew war as intimately as he knew man- 
kind, always maintained that a soldier was no longer at 
his best when the sap had ceased to mount. ** I am 
aware," (said the uncompromising veteran,) ''that the 
thirst for glory and the zeal for duty will, all through 
life, exalt men above themselves ; but those admirable 
motives cannot replace that natural love of hazard, and 
fatigue, and adventures, which comes from the violent 
circulation of young and boiling blood. When I am 
told that an officer is a person of honour and loyalty, 
I reply that I am very glad to hear it, if only he has 
le diable au corps'' ^ Cornwallis still preserved that 
indispensable, though oddly designated, qualification 
for active warfare at the time when he was commis- 
sioned by Howe to follow up the advantage which our 
army had obtained at Fort Washington. In after days 
he was accompanied on his Mysore expedition by cer- 
tain allied Rajahs, in command, but in the hour of 
battle not always at the head, of their respective con- 
tingents. These potentates, — with a sense of injured 
dignity, sharpened by personal uneasiness at what they 
considered a very dangerous precedent for themselves, 
— complained that the Governor-General exposed him- 
self under fire like a private grenadier. And during 
the invasion of the Jerseys, (when, instead of being a 
Viceroy, he was only a Major General on the Army 
List,^ and two good years on the right side of forty,) 
Cornwallis was never far in rear of his advance guard, 
and that advance guard was seldom much behind the 
enemy. With secrecy and celerity he passed six thou- 
sand British and German troops across the Hudson at 
points above King's Bridge.^ On the twentieth of 

^ The section " Sur les jeunes gens ; " Melanges Historiques et LittC' 
raires, par le Prince de Ligne. 

2 All through 1776 Cornwallis was " Lieutenant General in America." 
He became a Lieutenant General on the Army List in August 1777. 

^ The operations related in this chapter, and the two which follow, are 
clearly delineated in the map at the end of the volume. 


November a party of sailors, whom Lord Howe had 
lent him, with infinite enjoyment dragged his heavy 
guns up half a mile of narrow stony road, and planted a 
battery on the top of a precipice which, within easy 
cannon-range, overlooked Fort Lee and the adjacent 
encampment. The surprise was all but complete. 
Cornwallis made a push to seize the passes over the 
Hackensac river, the occupation of which would have 
enabled him to shut up two thousand Provincials on a 
peninsula only fifteen miles long, and nowhere more 
than three miles wide ; at the further end of which the 
sole retreat was across a league of sea-water patrolled 
by the British frigates. It was the most that Greene 
and his colonels could do to withdraw their regiments, 
their ammunition, and a couple of twelve-pounders. 
They left behind them thirty-two pieces of artillery 
mounted on the ramparts of the fort; a thousand bar- 
rels of flour, that before long were grievously missed ; 
many tents, and much baggage; as well as a consider- 
able amount of military reputation, and all that remained 
of the cheerfulness and confidence which had, up to a 
very recent period, inspired the Provincial forces. 

These repeated blows descended upon a frame too 
ill-knit to resist their impact. The Revolutionary 
army was now in rapid course of disintegration and 
dissolution. Washington's nominal strength had fallen 
to less than six, and his real strength was not above 
four, thousand.^ Near five thousand of his people had 
been made prisoners in the course of twelve weeks ; 
and the contagion of desertion, which had been epi- 
demic in his cantonments, now raged after the manner 
of a plague. The ranks melted, it was said, like snow 
in summer; but that was too genial and Arcadian a 
metaphor to use in connection with the dreary and 

^ These numbers were detailed in the text, and in the First Appendix, 
of The Battles of Trenton and Pi'inceton, by William S. Stryker, Adjutant 
General of New Jersey, and President of the New Jersey Historical Society ; 
Boston and New York, 1898. A better book on the subject could not 
be compiled. 



comfortless situation. For winter was setting in ; the 
frost was sharp, and the wind cruel ; the troops were 
wretchedly provided with tents and blankets ; and 
Greene's soldiers, in the hurry of their escape from Fort 
Lee, had brought away with them nothing except their 
muskets. The militia, more homesick than ever, disap- 
peared every night by scores and dozens. Those of 
them who scrupled to go off by stealth fondly reflected 
that they had only ten days more to serve, and proclaimed 
their intention of departing in mass so soon as their time 
was up. Even the regulars of the Continental line 
began to count, with ominous satisfaction, the dwindling 
residue of weeks during which they were bound by their 
contract to serve with the colours. A wreck of Washing- 
ton's once numerous host lay in hopeless plight round 
and about the village of Hackensac; cut off from any 
base of supply ; with no intrenching tools, and very 
few cannon. The Americans were certain to be beaten 
whenever the British came against them resolutely, and 
in full force ; and, if beaten, they would be hustled 
down southwards between the Hackensac and the 
Passaic rivers, and destroyed or taken to a man. Their 
general was keenly aHve to the peril in which he stood ; 
and he already had learned enough of Cornwallis to 
know that it would not be the fault of that commander 
if so rare an opportunity was mishandled and wasted.^ 

Washington accordingly crossed the Passaic by the 
bridge at Acquackanonck, and retreated to Newark, 
where he abode a week until a report reached him that 
Howe was taking measures for landing a detachment at 
South Amboy in order to catch the American army in 
the rear. On Thursday the twenty-eighth of November 
that army filed out of Newark, with the English close 
upon their heels ; ^ marched in two separate columns 

^ Washington's three letters of November 21, 1776, to Major General Lee, 
to the President of Congress, and to Governor Livingston of New Jersey. 

^ " Our force," wrote General Washington, " was by no means sufficient 
to make stand, with the least probability of success, against an enemy much 
superior in numbers, and whose advanced guards were entering the town 
by the time our rear got out." Letter of November 30, 1776. 

3 V^ 


along the roads which led through Springfield and 
Elizabeth Town ; and took up their position at New 
Brunswick, behind the river Raritan. At this point 
the remnant of those ten thousand militiamen, who 
during the past summer had figured in the newspapers 
under the title of the Flying Camp, took wing in a 
flock, and migrated homewards. That contemporary 
historian, who said that the American army had 
ceased to exist,^ did not greatly exaggerate as the case 
stood ; and his description would have been absolutely 
and literally accurate if Cornwallis had been allowed 
to take his own course. So great, (to quote General 
Howe's official account,) was the confusion among 
Washington's troops that they must inevitably have 
been cut in pieces if they had not broken down a 
portion of Brunswick Bridge, and thereby disabled 
their pursuer from following them across the Raritan.^ 

It was a poor excuse for Howe to put forward, and 
most unfair to an alert and strenuous subordinate. On 
the first of December Lord Cornwallis marched twenty 
miles over exceedingly bad roads in a single day, and ap- 
proached the Raritan, with a powerful force well in 
hand, before ever the rear guard of the enemy had 
passed the river. There he was overtaken by a message 
informing him that General Howe refused to sanction 
any further aggressive movements until he himself ar- 
rived at the front with reinforcements ; and then a full 
week elapsed before the British Commander-in-Chief, 
accompanied by a single brigade, came into camp, and 
assumed the personal command of the army. Howe's 
tactical arrangements, whenever and wherever his 
troops were sent into action, had hitherto uniformly 
been excellent ; but this month of December ruined, 
once and for ever, his repute as a strategist. The true 
policy of the campaign was to keep the Americans per- 

1 "History of Europe" in the Annual Register for the year 1777 ; 
chapter i. 

2 Letter from Sir William Howe to Lord George Germaine ; New York, 
December 20, 1776. 

C 2 


petually on the run till their army was reduced to frag- 
ments ; to take and hold their capital of Philadelphia ; 
and to break up their civil administration, and their mili- 
tary organisation, beyond any possibility of repair or 
resurrection. All other schemes should have been post- 
poned to the accomphshment of that supreme object ; 
and every available man and horse should have been 
launched on the chase of a decisive and overwhelming 
victory. The time had come for acting in the spirit of 
the phrase which General Sheridan used at the crisis of 
his battles : " Now let everything go in ! " But this was 
the precise moment which Howe selected to despatch 
two divisions of infantry, in a fleet of seventy transports 
escorted by eleven men-of-war, for the purpose of sub- 
duing Rhode Island ; — and only the actual island itself, 
without extending their operations to the rest of the 
province which bore that name. It was a facile con- 
quest ; but the fruits were as insignificant as the under- 
taking had been ill-timed. The American shipping 
escaped up the bay to Providence ; and several thousand 
Royal troops were thenceforward locked up in a sea-girt 
slip of land no larger than the estate of many an English 
Lord-Lieutenant. Their head-quarters were at New- 
port ; and, for any effect which they produced upon 
the general result of the war, they might have been 
as usefully, and much more agreeably, billeted in the 
town of the same name in the Isle of Wight. 

It was not till the seventh of December that Howe 
resumed his onward march ; and Washington was already 
far, or far enough, away. While still at Brunswick, he 
had issued orders to occupy the ferries above and below 
Trenton ; to seize every boat on the Delaware, and its 
tributary streams, over the space of many miles up and 
down the river ; and to make sure that they were in 
sound condition, and adequately provided with oars and 
punting-poles. Lord Stirling, with fourteen hundred 
Southern infantry, — the flower of the army, though a 
faded flower it was, — established himself strongly at 
Princeton ; and, under cover of the slender force com- 


manded by that vigilant officer, Washington very coolly 
and deliberately carried through his arrangements for 
abandoning the Jerseys, where he could no longer stay 
without the certainty of utter and instant ruin. He 
transported over the Delaware his military stores, which, 
indeed, were no heavy burden ; and his sick and dis- 
abled, whom, after that long and exhausting campaign, it 
was not easy to distinguish from those of their comrades 
who were still classed as hale and effective. On the 
seventh and eighth of the month his fighting army crossed 
the river. The shipping which the Americans had at their 
disposal was in excess of their requirements. Washing- 
ton had made a great point of securing certain barges, 
from thirty to forty feet in length, which were known as 
the Durham Boats, and which were ordinarily employed 
for the conveyance of heavy goods and iron ore between 
Philadelphia and the northern counties of New Jersey.^ 
So thin were his ranks that each of these vessels in some 
cases afforded accommodation for an entire regiment. 

Few or many, the Provincials were all safely landed in 
Pennsylvania. Their rear guard had hardly disembarked 
on the secure side of the river when their pleasing sen- 
sation of, at least, a temporary intermission from danger 
was enhanced by the almost simultaneous appearance 
on the eastern bank of a baffled and outwitted enemy. 
Howe's vanguard came marching bravely down in full 
expectation of being over the Delaware before nightfall. 
The citizens of Trenton were deeply impressed by the 
style in which a Hessian brigade entered their town, 
played through the streets by a band of music superior to 
anything that the whole of the armies commanded 
by Washington and Gates could produce between them. 
But, extraordinary to relate, the English general had 
been started on a campaign, in a region intersected at 
frequent intervals by broad and deep streams, without 
any of the appliances requisite for traversing an un- 
bridged river. ** How provoking it is,'* (exclaimed Colo- 
nel Enoch Markham,) " that our army, when it entered 

^ Washington to Colonel Hampton ; December I, 1776. 


the Jerseys, was not provided with a single pontoon ! 
Unless the object was Philadelphia, entering the Jerseys 
was absurd to the last degree. If we had six flat-bot- 
tomed boats, we could cross the Delaware." That was 
the view of a practised soldier ; and even civilians, who 
had eyes in their heads, could not understand why the 
ingenuity of British military engineers on the spot did 
nothing to remedy the improvidence of the British War 
Office. A Loyalist gentleman, who had followed our 
columns up to the Delaware, — and who expected, within 
three days' time, to have been eating his dinner in 
Philadelphia, where he would have found plenty of hosts 
willing and proud to entertain him, — discovered for 
himself that, at and near Trenton, there were forty-eight 
thousand feet of boards in store, besides a great quantity 
of strong wire. A well-stocked timber-yard lay directly 
at the back of the premises where the English head- 
quarters had been established ; and, if any additional 
materials were needed, the town contained a hundred 
wooden houses, and no less than four blacksmiths' 
shops. ^ There was hardly a brigade in. Washington's 
army that would not have furnished artificers to con- 
struct the rafts, and ferrymen and boatmen to handle 
them ; but our soldiers were unskilled, and our com- 
manders helpless, in front of an obstacle which they all 
pronounced to be insurmountable. On the morning of 
the ninth of December Lord Cornwallis marched thir- 
teen miles along the Delaware, as far towards the north 
as Coryell's Ferry, in search of boats which had all been 
carefully deposited either beyond, or beneath, the water.^ 

^ Joseph Galloway's Evidence before the House of Commons; June i8, 
1776. Jones's History of Nru) York ; Vol. I., chapter vi. The names of 
the Trenton blacksmiths are given in Mr. Stryker's Battles of Trenton and 

^ " On Sunday morning we crossed the Delaware. About eleven o'clock 
the enemy came marching down with all the pomp of war, in great expec- 
tation of getting boats ; but of this we took proper care by destroying 
every boat or shallop we could lay hands on. They made forced marches 
up and down the river in pursuit of boats ; but in vain. The enemy are 
at least twelve thousand strong, determined for Philadelphia." Letter of 
an officer from Trenton ; American Archives^ December 1776. 


Stedman, the English historian of the war, remarked 
that General Howe appeared to have calculated with 
the greatest accuracy the exact time necessary for the 
enemy to make his escape ; and Washington himself 
modestly attributed the entire credit of that escape to the 
" infatuation " of his opponent. The Delaware river, ( he 
confessed,) and nothing else, had saved Philadelphia. 

The Americans needed all the consolation which they 
could derive from the very visible disappointment of 
their adversary ; for seldom or never has any body of 
troops, that still held together as an organised and obe- 
dient army, been in much worse case than theirs. They 
had originally been equipped in headlong haste, out of 
the scanty resources, or on the fast vanishing credit, 
of an almost empty Treasury. By the time that Fort 
Washington was captured, three months of active war- 
fare had already reduced most of their regiments to an 
aspect of beggary. Provincial officers, who were pris- 
oners among the British tents, were painfully struck by 
a comparison between the private men of the two con- 
tending forces. While their own poor fellows, (they 
said,) were already ragged, and the best of them clad 
in flimsy threadbare clothes, with worse stockings and 
shoes, the Royal troops were tight and comfortable in 
their attire ; and every man among them was provided 
with a thick nightcap to wear when asleep or off duty. 
Lord Dartmouth received, from one of his most regular 
correspondents, a letter remarking on the policy of Con- 
gress in having closed American ports against the intro- 
duction of Yorkshire woollens. If the rebels, (so this 
gentleman reported,) were obliged to keep the field dur- 
ing the winter, they would suffer much distress, if not 
destruction. He himself had seen advertisements in the 
newspapers asking for all the blankets that could be 
spared from people's beds throughout the country. This, 
however, would afford a very scanty and precarious 
resource for the army, since few civilians would find 
their patriotism warm enough to unclothe themselves 
without the prospect of being able to obtain a fresh 


supply from abroad during the whole of the winter; 
and a winter in that climate was severe indeed. Many 
of Washington's soldiers, (the writer added,) had no 
other covering than a rifleman's frock of canvas over 
their shirts, and were diseased, and over-run with ver- 
min, to a degree that was positively revolting.^ Such 
was the state of things on the seventh of November, 
when the retreat across the Jerseys had not yet com- 
menced. Since that date four weeks of open bivouacs 
in sleet and hail-storms, — and long marches over roads 
to which, even before they had been broken up by mili- 
tary traffic, the least fastidious tourist from Western 
Europe would have scornfully denied the title of high- 
ways, — brought the remnant of Washington's followers 
into a state of destitution which in some instances hardly 
stopped short of nudity. The hunting-shirt of the fron- 
tier-men had been '* the mortal aversion of every red- 
coat;"^ but those dreaded marksmen no^y, by their 
miserable appearance, excited a movement of generous 
compassion in the breast of more than one English offi- 
cer. Young militiamen, who had come on service in 
their farm clothes, were in a pitiable condition long be- 
fore they reached Trenton Ferry ; and the Continental 
regulars, who had begun the campaign in buff and blue, 
admitted, (with a touch of that American humour which 
defies misfortune,) that they would have been ** all buff" 
had the retreat lasted a fortnight longer. There was 
nothing gay or showy except the regimental flags ; and 
those were not of a conventional military pattern. The 
tattered footsore group, which was called a battalion, 
trailing wearily through rain and mud behind a banner 
gaudy with allegorical and emblematic devices, bore a 
closer external resemblance to some village benefit club 
in very poor circumstances than to a band of warriors 
who were on the eve of a world-famous exploit.^ 

1 Ambrose Serle to Lord Dartmouth; November 7, 1776. 

2 Pennsylvanian Memoirs ; chapter viii. 

• The standard of the thirteenth regiment displayed a pine tree, and 
a field of Indian corn, on a ground of light buff. The supporters were 


Inclement weather, and incessant toil and exposure, 
were all the more afflicting to soldiers who were worse 
than badly fed by their employers, and who had not the 
leisure or the permission to cater for themselves. The 
administrative departments had completely broken down ; 
and, indeed, since their wholesale and repeated losses by 
capture of waggons and draught-horses, the Transport 
officers had not much left to administer. Carrying next 
to nothing along with them, the Provincials could procure 
very little from the country through which they travelled. 
Their force was small, and they had no men to spare from 
the duties of watching the enemy, and guarding the camp ; 
the militia were so prone to desert that they could not 
safely be trusted at a distance from head-quarters ; and, 
as long as Cornwallis managed the pursuit, the British 
skirmishers had been active, audacious, and importunate. 
For all these reasons the American commander did not 
venture to send out foragers in any great number over a 
considerable extent of country. At that season of the 
year the harvest of maize had long ago been cut and 
gathered ; and Washington's soldiers could not, (like the 
troops of General Jackson in the War of the Secession,) 
eat their rations "off the stalk" in the corn-fields along 
their line of march. There is a casual mention of half a 
pint of whiskey having been served out daily to every 
American ; but whether or not they received that allow- 
ance regularly, and whatever it may have done towards 
keeping them contented, they most certainly got very little 
solid or wholesome food to sustain them. They starved 
all the way from Hackensac to Newark, and from New- 
ark to Brunswick ; and, by the time they came in sight 
of the Delaware, those mothers and sisters, who had 
spun and dyed their garments, would with difficulty have 
recognised their pinched faces and discoloured rags.^ 

" two officers in the uniform of the regiment ; one of them wounded in 
the breast, the blood streaming from the wound. Under the Pine several 
children ; one of the officers, pointing to them, with the motto, ' For 
Posterity I Bleed ! ' " American Archives ; September 1776. 

^ Mr. William Stillman tells in his autobiography how his maternal 
grandfather, a clergyman at Newport in Rhode Island, sent two sons into 


The fate of the sick and, the wounded was heart-rend- 
ing. So far back as October there were five battalions, 
brigaded together above Haerlem, which had only one 
surgeon's mate among them.^ The store of drugs and 
of bandages ran out early in the retreat ; nor could the 
deficiencies of regimental chests be supplemented from 
the local resources of those petty towns which the army 
traversed. 2 Many of the soldiers, who were too ill to 
walk, were left behind in the utter dearth of carriage; 
and most of these died for the want of care.^ A very 
large proportion of the troops who retired across the 
Delaware were attacked by pneumonia, dysentery, and 
camp-fevers ; and few, who once were prostrated, ever 
recovered and survived. During the coming quarter 
of a year three thousand deaths occurred in and about 
Philadelphia, where seventy funerals sometimes took 
place on the same day. Many of those militiamen, 
who left the ranks at one point or another of the retreat, 
carried away the seeds of disease in their frames. They 
died at their homes in great numbers, and spread typhus 
far and wide throughout the neighbourhoods where they 
resided.* In December 1776 there existed a wellnigh 
universal impression that the military power of the 
Americans had been mortally stricken. A friendly 
hand likened the remains of their army to a tribe of 
wandering Arabs. ** The Rebels," (a Tory journalist 
wrote,) " are mouldering away like a rope of sand. 
With the most impotent bravadoes they have not had 

the Revolutionary army. As one of them "had no clothes fit for the 
camp, the sisters had a black and white sheep brought from the pasture 
and clipped, and within twenty-four hours had spun, woven, and made up 
a suit of mixed grey clothes for the brother to go to the war in." Such, 
and no better, was the outfit of many a poor lad who, within a month after 
he crossed the Delaware, was lying in the Philadelphia cemetery. 

^ The American Archives for October 1776. 

2 According to a letter from Paul Wentworth, among the Auckland 
Manuscripts, " Rhubarb, Ippecacuana, and Globar Salts " then made up 
almost the whole furniture of an apothecary's shop in the rural districts 
of the most civilised and thriving colonies. 

* Colonel Enoch Markham ; December 14, 1776. 

* Ambrose Serle to Lord Dartmouth ; March 20, 1777. 


the Spirit to make anything like a stand in a single 
encounter. Mr. Washington, with about two thousand 
poor wretches who can get no subsistence except by fol- 
lowing him, has fled into Pennsylvania." ^ 

Howe's easy and triumphant advance, and the hard- 
ships of Washington's retreat, were in no small part 
due to the apathy and indifference of New Jersey. The 
middle colonies did not share the revolutionary enthu- 
siasm of New England ; and their inhabitants, who 
always had been a peace-loving folk, were not inflamed 
by the mutual pugnacity, and even ferocity, which made 
Whig and Tory fight each other to the death in Georgia 
and the Carolinas. The citizens of the Jerseys, (as an 
English officer described them in September 1776,) were 
a very good sort of people ; very industrious, and with 
no great stomach towards the war. Their country, be- 
fore it was desolated by the invasion, had been termed 
the garden of America.^ They themselves possessed 
those milder virtues which belong to the small propri- 
etor in a prosperous rural district, together with his 
modest ambition of ranking as a tranquil and obscure 
supporter of the winning side ; and, in their estimation, 
that side was no longer the American. General Greene 
declared that, if New England had been the seat of 
hostilities, the Provincials would not have been under 
the necessity of retreating more than six or seven 
leagues ; but the fright and disaffection were so great 
in the Jerseys that Washington, in his rearward march 
of over a hundred miles, was never joined by more 
than a hundred men.^ On the thirtieth of November 
a proclamation was put forth, signed by the British 
General, and by his brother. Lord Howe ; — a family 
name which inspired respect, and something of affec- 
tion, among Americans who were not stiff and deter- 
mined partisans of the Revolution. A free pardon, and 

^ New York Mercury ; December 23, 1776. 

2 Travels through the Interior Parts of America ; Vol. II., Letter 58. 

^ Letter from General Greene; December 21, 1776. 


the assured enjoyment of liberty and property, were 
promised to all who within sixty days would subscribe 
a declaration of loyalty to his Majesty ; and the offer 
included even those who had borne arms against the 
Crown. During the best part of a fortnight, adhesions 
came in at the rate of three or four hundred in the 
twenty-four hours. Colonel Enoch Markham, who was 
stationed at Perth Amboy on the mouth of the Raritan 
river, had infinite trouble from dawn to bed-time, swear- 
ing in the neighbours, and signing their certificates. 
That gallant old soldier, — who, like the true brother 
of an English Archbishop, had faith in the permanent 
efficacy on the human conscience of oaths of Allegiance 
and Supremacy, — drew up an additional attestation of 
his own, which he imposed upon active and notorious 
rebels before consenting to accept their submission. 
The farmers of New Jersey, however, did not look very 
critically into the exact wording of an engagement 
which secured their persons from imprisonment, and 
professed to guarantee their homes against pillage. 
Unless the wheel of fortune made a speedy and most 
unlikely turn, it seemed as if there would be a very 
small minority of non-jurors left throughout the entire 
province. "The conduct of the Jerseys," (so Wash- 
ington told his brother,) " has been most infamous. 
Instead of turning out to defend their country, and 
affording aid to our army, they are making submissions 
as fast as they can. If the Jerseys had given us any 
support, we might have made a stand at Hackensac, 
and after that at Brunswick ; but the few militia, that 
were in arms, disbanded themselves and left the poor 
remains of our army to make the best we could of it."^ 

^ Letter to John Augustine Washington ; Camp near the Falls of 
Trenton, December 1776. 

In the course of that same week General Macdougal reported to Wash- 
ington from Morristown that the New Jersey Militia there had fallen to 
two hundred. " When I anticipate," he said, " the bad consequences that 
will result to the common cause from the submission of this State, it 
renders me almost unfit for any business. The Northern expedition of 
last year cost me my eldest son, and the capture of the other." 


Whether or not the people of New Jersey deserved 
that exceedingly strong adjective which the angry and 
despondent Washington applied to their conduct, most 
undoubtedly the course which they had chosen to pur- 
sue entailed upon their province severe and instant 
penalties. The Royal army included in its composition 
an element of violence and rapacity, which five long 
months of impunity had fostered and emboldened. 
Our foreign auxiliaries brought with them to America 
certain ideas and habits alien to the creed and customs 
of a British army. Their officers had the military aristo- 
crat's contempt for civilians, and especially for peas- 
ants ; and, when the peasant was a rebel as well, they 
regarded him as a being with no rights, no feelings 
which deserved consideration, no claim to decent treat- 
ment, and no property that he could call his own when 
once a well-born captain or lieutenant, who served 
the Elector of Hanover, had done him the honour of 
stepping across his threshold. Even the most well 
conducted of the soldiers could not be expected to main- 
tain a higher standard of honesty and humanity than 
was recognised by those to whom they looked for an 
example. During the whole of the voyage from their 
distant home the Germans, — officers and privates, 
better or worse, alike, — had consoled the tedium and 
discomfort of their life at sea by picturing America as 
a Promised Land, whose inhabitants had forfeited all 
title to its possession by wicked ingratitude towards 
their rightful sovereign. When they entered New 
York Bay, and looked around them, the aspect of the 
inheritance, which they proposed to occupy, exceeded 
their brightest and most sanguine anticipations. They 
were much struck, (we are told,) by the appearance of 
wealth and plenty which they found on Staten Island ; 
by the commodious houses, embowered in gardens and 
orchards ; and by the light waggons, painted red, and 
drawn at a brisk trot by pairs of small, neat horses. 
They bade each other remark that a colonist, who was 
nothing more than a farmer or a dairyman, lived in as 


good style as a German country gentleman. They de- 
clared it to be inexplicable that people should revolt 
against a Government under which they enjoyed so 
many blessings ; ^ but, though such perversity was not 
capable of explanation, it was none the less highly con- 
venient for a gallant adventurer who wanted to settle 
down in affluence and security when once his campaigns 
were over. ** Abuse of the rebels," (said a Loyalist in 
Government employment,) " and the hope of plunder, 
— for I hear that all the Hessian common soldiers have 
a notion of making their fortunes, — have stimulated 
them to such a degree as by no means inclines them to 
show tenderness and mercy. They are very expert in 
foraging, and have made good use of their time. The 
company and example of the British troops have 
hitherto prevented all excessive cruelties." ^ 

That was written early in September ; and, some two 
months afterwards, the Hessians crossed the Hudson. 
To do their impartiality justice, they left behind them 
on the east of the river very little moveable property, 
belonging to the Tories of New York province, which 
it repaid them to take ; and now, without delay, disguise, 
or pity, they fell beak and claw upon New Jersey. 
Their behaviour in that unlucky colony aroused a chorus 
of indignation in all the thirteen States, the echo of 
which has ever since gone rolling down on the stream 
of history and popular tradition. The outcry of anger 
and disapprobation was swelled by the voices of English- 
men and colonial Loyalists, whose shame and compunc- 
tion at the military licence practised by their own allies 
found vent in protests more strongly worded than any- 
thing which had been dictated by the resentment of 
American Whigs. Before Cornwallis had penetrated as 
far south as Newark, the Deputy Adjutant General of 
the British army confessed that his Lordship would not 
be able to restrain the troops from plundering the coun- 
try, now that their excess in that respect had already 

1 Chapter v. of The Hessians ; by Edward J. Lowell. 

2 Ambrose Serle to Lord Dartmouth ; September 5, 1776, 


been carried to an unjustifiable extent.^ In warmer and 
less official, but not more honest and honourable, 
language Judge Jones declared that the war was levelled 
not so much at rebellion, as at his Majesty's loyal sub- 
jects within the lines ; against all persons wherever the 
army moved ; against erudition, religion, and literature 
in general. Public libraries, (said the indignant Tory,) 
were robbed, colleges ruined, and churches of all 
denominations burned and destroyed. 

In those passionate words there was emphasis, but no 
exaggeration. On the seventh of December Howe's 
army took possession of Princeton, a seat of learning 
and culture which was the pride of the central colonies. 
The female camp-followers, who in the friendly city of 
New York sold the choicest books in three great public 
libraries for the price of a glass of gin or a morsel of 
finery, had learned to regard the collections preserved 
in an academic building as their special and familiar 
prey ; and their own view of the matter was shared by 
those less decently-behaved soldiers who were their bullies 
and their admirers. Between them they soon gutted 
the library, the museum, and the lecture-rooms ; car- 
ried off or destroyed every volume upon the shelves ; 
and broke up all the philosophical and mathematical 
instruments for the sake of the brass fittings. Among 
other scientific treasures there perished a "celebrated 
orrery, made by Rittenhouse, said to be the best and 
finest in the world." ^ A more pathetic calamity, to the 
mind of a classical scholar, was the profanation and 
pillage of the residence occupied by the distinguished 
President of the College. He had called his dwelling 
Tusculum, and had endeavoured, — as far as might be 
done at that distance from Italian antiquarian shops, and 
Birmingham and Leipsic printing-houses, — to render it 
worthy of the name by the character and value of the 
decorations and contents. What took place at Princeton 

^ Journal of Major Stephen Kemble ; November 24, 1776. 
*" History of Europe "in the Annual Register for 1777. Jones's 
History of New York ; Vol. I., chapter vii. 


was repeated in every cluster of houses situated on or 
near the roads along which the Royal army advanced. 
A single representative passage may be quoted from 
one among an infinite number of contemporary letters 
which all gave the same monotonous recital of anarchy, 
oppression, and misery. **The fine settlements of 
Maidenhead and Hopewell have been broken up. The 
houses are stripped of every article of furniture; and 
what is not portable is entirely destroyed. The stock 
of cattle and sheep are drove off ; every article of cloth- 
ing and house-linen seized and carried away. Scarce a 
soldier but what has a horse loaded with plunder. 
Hundreds of families are reduced to poverty and ruin, 
and left at this inclement season to wander through the 
woods without clothing." ^ 

When December was half through, the campaign, — 
so far as the course of events was under Howe's con- 
trol, — came to an end. The Royal army was distributed 
among farms and hamlets up and down New Jersey, to 
remain under cover of a roof, and to live at rack and 
manger, until the spring should arrive. The condition 
of the local population, so far from mending, grew more 
intolerable than ever. The colonists eagerly and wist- 
fully put forward their claim to that immunity from 
rapine and confiscation, which had been promised them 
when they made their submission and took the oath of 
loyalty. But a German fusilier could no more read a 
protection-paper drawn up in English than if it had 
been a Baskerville Virgil from the wreck of President 

^Letterinthe American Archives; December 12, 1776. According 
to a trustworthy spectator, the process of collecting booty had by this time 
been developed into a systematic business. " I saw the soldiers plunder- 
ing the houses, — the women of the village trembling and weeping, or fly- 
ing with their children. A scene of promiscuous pillage was in full 
operation. Here a soldier was seen issuing from a house armed with a 
frying-pan and gridiron, and hastening to deposit them with the stove 
over which his help-mate kept watch. The women who had followed the 
army assisted their husbands in bringing the furniture from the houses, or 
stood sentinels to guard the pile of kitchen utensils, or other articles, 
already secured and claimed by right of war." Dunlap's History of thi 
American Theatre. 


Witherspoon's study in Tusculum ; and he most certainly 
would not go out of his way to find a British officer who 
might explain to him the contents of the document. 
Wherever Hessians were billeted, they at once made 
free with money and valuables ; they inventoried, and 
began to pack up, the furniture ; and they detected 
hidden deposits of domestic stores and precious metals 
with an instinct which to their unhappy hosts seemed 
nothing short of infernal. Under the odious recruiting 
system that then prevailed in Central Europe, most 
German regiments comprised a dangerously large infu- 
sion of the refuse of the street and the sweepings of the 
jail. There were ruffians and vagabonds in the ranks 
whose presence as guests was a torment and a terror to 
quiet colonial households. America rang with the story 
of incidents that were maddening to a proud, a strict, 
and a self-respecting people ; whose home was their 
shrine ; whose wives were their counsellors and true 
helpmates ; and whose children were tenderly cherished, 
and carefully instructed in religion and at least the 
elements of learning, under a system of education 
which, rude and imperfect as compared with modern 
requirements, was superior to anything then existing in 
the rural districts of most European kingdoms. Sir 
Henry Clinton, who followed Howe as Commander-in- 
Chief in America, and who succeeded to the inheritance 
of all his blunders and negligences, regarded the wrath 
and distrust engendered by the lamentable occurrences 
in New Jersey as the most hopeless feature in the 
impossible situation which was left for him to encounter. 
** Unless," he wrote, " we would refrain from plunder, 
we had no business to take up winter-quarters in a 
district we wish to preserve loyal. The Hessians 
introduced it." 

That was a point which has never been disputed. 
Writers of all parties and of both nations, and eye-wit- 
nesses of every profession and calling, — whether they 
wore a red coat, or buff and blue, or the drab of a 
Quaker, or the sombre garb of a clergyman, — united 



in maintaining that our foreign stipendiaries were the 
earliest, and incomparably the most flagrant, offenders 
against the dictates of honesty and compassion. This 
grave allegation, so far from being refuted, has not 
even been combated. No counter-case was so much as 
attempted to be made out on behalf of the German 
soldiery ; and the explanation of that silence is very 
simple. When a German prince had sent troops to 
America, it was to him that the world looked as the 
natural guardian and vindicator of the military honour 
of his own subjects ; but he, and his courtiers and min- 
isters, did not conceive that military honour had been 
in any way tarnished by anything which our auxiliaries 
had done in New Jersey. Indeed a Hessian or Wal- 
decker, who was lucky enough to find himself the tem- 
porary autocrat of a wealthy American homestead, 
would have been regarded by his friends at home, and 
especially by his presumptive heirs, as wanting in com- 
mon-sense and family feeling if he had neglected to 
make the very utmost of his facilities. Robert Morris 
wrote to France that, according to information which 
reached him, the British troops were restrained from 
pillage ; but that the Hessians and other foreigners 
looked upon plunder as the right of war, and indiscrim- 
inately robbed all civilians with whom they came in 
contact. Such is the testimony placed on record by a 
leading statesman of the Revolution ; and the same 
charge was urged, with far greater severity of denun- 
ciation, by Englishmen who had a stronger grievance 
against their German allies than any which could be 
alleged even by an American.^ 

For the conduct of those allies not only discredited 
and weakened the British cause ; but it inflicted upon 
our nation a still deeper injury by impairing the moral 
tone, and relaxing the discipline, of the British army.^ 

1 Robert Morris to the American Commissioners in France ; Decem- 
ber 21, 1776. 

'^ " It was scarcely possible that the devastation and disorders, practised 
by the Hessians, should not operate in some degree by their example upon 


Before very long, in the ranks of that army, the inevi- 
table contagion of remunerative and unpunished licence 
generated a constantly increasing number of marauders. 
And yet those Englishmen, who followed the bad ex- 
ample of their German comrades, imitated them but 
tamely, and with half a heart. A Pennsylvanian Whig, 
— whose mind was perfectly impartial as between the 
nationalities which composed the Royal army, and who 
had disagreeably advantageous opportunities for watch- 
ing their respective methods of proceeding, — observed 
that the Hessians were conspicuous by their cruelty 
and avidity, but that a mixture of generosity, and a 
tinge of commiseration, were noticeable features in the 
most lawless of the British soldiers.^ One of our officers, 
who had been made prisoner with Burgoyne, in the 
course of his captivity slept at the mansion of a Jersey 
planter, who, Loyalist as he was, had suffered like others 
during the invasion and occupation of his native prov- 
ince in December 1776. The English depredators, 
(so this gentleman told his guest,) only pilfered chickens 
and pigs ; but the Hessians went into houses, broke 
open wardrobes and drawers, and took away silver 
plate, clothes, and any object, — small or large, light or 
heavy, — which would tempt a pawnbroker. He related 
that he saw some Germans enter a house which had 
been abandoned by the owner, in which had been left 
an eight-day clock, and a few tables and chairs. He 
shortly afterwards observed one of the soldiers come out 
of the house with the works of the clock, the pendulum, 
and all the leaden weights. This very considerable 
load, " in addition to his knapsack and accoutrements, 
the fellow had near twenty miles to carry to New York, 

the British troops. It would have been difficult to have punished enormi- 
ties on the one side, which were practised without reserve or apprehen- 
sion on the other. Every successful deviation from order and discipline 
in war is certainly and speedily followed by others still greater." " His- 
tory of Europe " in the Annual Register for 1777; chapter i. 

^ The Common-place Book of William Rawle, (the elder,) dated Octo- 
ber 12, 1 781; an extract from which has been published by the Historical 
Society of Pennsylvania. 

D 2 


where the most he could possibly get for it would be 
three or four dollars." ^ A common musketeer had 
nowhere to pack his acquisitions except on his own 
shoulders, unless he could steal a horse ; but there was 
no Hmit to the rapacity of his Colonel, who would not 
find the German Quartermasters inexorable if he had 
occasion to ask for the loan of one of King George's 
baggage-waggons. The Hessian brigades, (according 
to a British writer of the day,) at length became so en- 
cumbered with spoil, and so anxious for its preservation, 
that it grew to be a great impediment to their military 

Our warlike annals provide a memorable example of 
the policy which a great general, who was likewise a 
true statesman, would have pursued under circumstances 
so fraught with scandal and the gravest public danger. 
Towards the close of the year 1813 Lord Wellington 
crossed the Bidassoa, and assailed Napoleon within his 
own borders. A very large part of the force, on which 
he relied for the successful prosecution of that final 
enterprise which was to crown and consummate the 
long series of his splendid exertions, consisted of Span- 
ish troops who, under his sedulous care, had at length 
attained to a respectable point of martial efficacy. 
Unfortunately those troops, now that their turn had 
come, not unnaturally thought themselves justified in 
exacting a payment on account of that terrible score 
which had been run up by the French during their 
protracted occupation of the Peninsula. As soon as the 
Spaniards were on Gallic soil they began to plunder; 
and the certain consequences forthwith ensued. Peas- 
ants were scared away ; supplies no longer flowed into 
the provision-markets of the English army ; and Wel- 
lington foresaw that, unless he could prevent rapine, he 
must forego the hope, (which was very dear to him,) 
of being regarded by a large part of the French popu- 

^ Travels through the Interior Parts of America ; London, 1 791 ; VoL 
III., Letter 58. 

* " History of Europe; " Annual Register for 1 777. 


lation as their deliverer from a grinding military tyranny. 
The course which he followed is described by Sir Will- 
iam Napier in the language of manly approbation. 
" He put to death all the Spanish marauders whom he 
could take in the act, and then, with many reproaches, 
and despite the discontent of their generals, forced the 
whole to withdraw into their own country. Morillo's 
division alone remained with the army. These decisive 
proceedings, marking the lofty character of the man, 
proved not less politic than resolute. The French peo- 
ple immediately returned, and, finding the strictest dis- 
cipline preserved, and all things paid for, adopted an 
amicable intercourse with the invader." Wellington's 
action was beyond all question wise and expedient ; but 
in taking that action he was mainly guided by the 
primal and spontaneous impulses of a high-spirited 
gentleman, which before everything else he was. In a 
letter addressed to some of the Spanish generals he 
commented on the wickedness of a system of spoliation. 
There was much, (so he went on to write,) which he 
could say against such a system from a political point 
of view ; but it was unnecessary, because, careless 
whether he commanded a large or a small army, he was 
resolved that it should obey him, and should not pillage. 
In the autumn of 18 12 Wellington had been seriously, 
— and, as some of his generals thought, unduly and 
even unjustly, — dissatisfied by the symptoms of laxity 
and insubordination which he detected among his troops 
during the retreat from Burgos. He sent to England 
for a lawyer of established character, and great ability 
and industry, to fill the post of Judge Advocate in the 
Peninsular army. He admitted this gentleman to his 
friendship and familiarity, with the result, and doubtless 
with the intention, of securing the respect and confidence 
of military men for an official whose functions, however 
necessary, were apt to be unpopular and invidious ; and, 
amid all his vast and urgent occupations, before con- 
firming or remitting a sentence, he read through 
the evidence which had been given at the Courts- 


martial.^ Timely severity, exercised with discerning 
judgement and minute attention by a leader who once a 
month was winning a brilliant victory, soon restored disci- 
pline to a perfection which satisfied even Lord Wellington. 
By the time the British crossed the Pyrenees, a single 
friendly, though very decided, word of admonition from 
his lips was a sufficient check upon any tendency to 
excesses and disorder.^ Officers and soldiers alike had 
caught the spirit of their chief. A captain in the 
Ninety-fifth Rifle Regiment, which formed part of the 
famous Light division, was accompanied into France 
by his wife, — a Spanish girl of family, whom he had 
rescued from the sack of Badajos. He was afterwards 
known as Sir Harry Smith of Ferozeshah and Aliwal ; 
and she gave her name to a very celebrated town in 
South Africa. In one French village the young couple 
were hospitably entertained by a widow, who brought 

^ Private Journals of Francis Seymour Larpeni^ Deputy Assistant 
Judge Advocate General to the Army in Spain; London, 1853. 

" Lord Wellington," wrote Larpent, " told me that I kept him up read- 
ing Courts-martial until twelve o'clock at night, or one in the morning ; 
and this every night." " His papers," (the Judge Advocate says else- 
where,) " had increased upon him in his five days' absence ; and, when 
I went in with a great bundle to add to them, he put his hands before his 
eyes and said, ' Put them on that table, and do not say anything about 
them now.'" The first of these entries is dated halfway between the battle 
of the Nivelle, and the battle of St. Pierre. On the second occasion Wel- 
lington had been away from head-quarters, conducting some very critical 
manoeuvres with Soult for an opponent. It is difficult to imagine General 
Howe spending his nights in such employment during an interval in the 
military operations. 

^ After the first affair which took place in France, the prisoners were 
sent to the rear in the charge of a young lieutenant, who met the Com- 
mander-in-Chief during the march back to camp. " Halloa, sir," said 
Wellington ; " where did you get those fellows ? " " In France," replied 
the subaltern ; " Colonel Colborne's brigade took them." " How the 
devil do you know it was France ? " " Because I saw a lot of our fellows 
coming into the column with pigs and poultry, which we had not on the 
Spanish side." Wellington soon contrived to see General Colborne, and 
told him that, although his brigade had even more than usually distin- 
guished themselves, they must respect the property of the country. Col- 
borne said the most he could in defence of his men ; which amounted 
to something. " Aye ! Aye ! " said his Lordship. " Stop it in future, 
Colborne." And stopped it was. Memoirs of Lieutenant- General Sir 
Harry Smith; Vol. I., chapter xiv. 


forth in their honour a choice basin of Sevres porce- 
lain. At their next stopping-place this object of art 
appeared on their breakfast table; and their soldier- 
servant, when questioned, admitted that he had thought 
it too pretty to be left behind them. The lady at once 
ordered out her horse and groom ; rode thirty miles 
through a hostile country swarming with stragglers ; 
and came back late at night after having restored the 
piece of china to the rightful owner. "The story," 
said her husband, ** got wind ; and the next day every 
officer in the Division loaded her with praise." 

If Wellington could have commanded in America in 
the year i yjGy it may confidently be asserted that, within 
ten days after Fort Washington fell, he would have 
been across the Delaware, which was not more of a 
river than the Douro ; ^ and some very high-placed offi- 
cers would already have been on their way back to 
Germany in disgrace, beneath the hatches of a return 
transport. A political opponent, generously attempt- 
ing to defend Howe from the charge of indifference to 
crime and outrage, pleaded that he could not venture 
to hazard the success of the war, so far from England, 
and in such precarious and critical circumstances, by 
quarreling with auxiliaries who were nearly as numerous 
as his own forces.^ But the distance from home, and 
the important issues dependent on the campaign, were 
so many additional reasons why the Commander-in-Chief 
should insist upon being the absolute master in his own 
household. Howe was so deferential towards his foreign 
lieutenants, and so heedless of his personal obligations, 
that he took no effective measures for the protecti(>n 
even of those Loyalists to whom his honour, and that of 
his brother, had been pledged. The local population, 
without distinction of party, or regard for political ser- 
vices and merits, was delivered over to the greed and 

^ The Douro at Oporto was something more than three hundred yards, 
and the Delaware at Trenton something less than a thousand feet, from 
bank to bank. 

^ " History of Europe " in the Annual Register ^ 1777. 


insolence of the Hessians. " Neither age nor sex, Whig 
or Tory, is spared. Indiscriminate ruin attends every 
person they met with. Children, old men, and women, 
left without a blanket to cover them ; doors and windows 
broke to pieces ; the houses uninhabitable, and the peo- 
ple without provisions. As a proof of their regard and 
favour to their friends and wellwishers, they yesterday 
burned the elegant house of Daniel Cox Esquire, of 
Trenton Ferry, who has been their constant advocate, 
and the supporter of Toryism in that part of the coun- 
try." ^ Ever since the days of Tilly and Wallenstein, 
— and more recently, when Frederic was over-running 
Saxony, and when his own dominions were being rav- 
aged by the Cossacks, — robbery and devastation had 
been familiar inflictions to the inhabitants of Germany. 
But this very short taste of the Thirty Years' War was 
a dose altogether too strong for an English-speaking 
people. Theirs was a race which did not breed willing 
and passive victims, but men who fought in defence of 
home and family more readily and fiercely even than for 
cause and country. From that time forward, whenever 
a State was menaced with invasion, the memories of 
those winter months which the Hessians spent in New 
Jersey seldom failed to rally the manhood of the whole 
country-side to the standards of the Revolution. 

^ Letter in the American Archives of December 1776, Mr. Daniel 
Cox retired to New York, where he helped to found the Board of Loyalist 
Refugees, which consisted of representatives from the different provinces 
in America. He was placed in the Chair, " to deprive him of the oppor- 
tuD *y of speaking, as he has the gift of saying little in many words." His 
property in New Jersey and Pennsylvania was confiscated after the war, 
ar'I he died in England. Sabine s American Loyalists. 



The Americans, for the moment, had the Delaware 
as a protection against the invader ; but their general 
knew that for himself and his army it was not a reprieve, 
but at the most a respite. Washington reported to his 
Government that the British intended for Philadelphia. 
All military men, (he wrote,) were agreed that the line 
of a river could not be made good for any length of 
time against a superior force; and the troops that he 
commanded were far less numerous than those which 
were opposed to him. His little handful was daily 
decreasing by sickness ; and the loss of Philadelphia, — 
an event which would be ** severely felt by the common 
cause, and would wound the heart of every virtuous 
American," — could only be averted by the prompt, 
willing, and unsparing exertions of the people. He 
had counted upon those exertions ; and he confessed 
himself cruelly disappointed. The inhabitants of New 
Jersey, either from fear or disaffection, had with few 
exceptions refused to take the field against the invader ; 
and even on those who came forward very little depen- 
dence was to be placed. Experience, (so he definitely 
stated,) had brought home to his mind that to rely upon 
the militia was a perilous, and might ere long prove to 
be a fatal, delusion. ^ 

Even so, however, Washington ought not to have 
been at the end of his resources ; for there lay within 
easy reach of him a powerful body of Continental regu- 
lars upon whose services he had every title to reckon. 

1 Washington's letters of December 12, 1776, to the President of Con- 
gress, and to Governor Trumbull of Connecticut. 



When, early in November, he transported a portion of 
his troops into New Jersey, he left General Lee on the 
east of the river, in charge of a force fully equal to 
that which marched under his own immediate command. 
He drew up for that officer's guidance a paper of 
instructions in which the closing, and the governing, 
sentence was to the effect that, if the Jerseys were 
invaded by the main part of the British army, Lee was 
to come to the rescue with all possible despatch. Within 
the next ten days the pair of forts, which were called 
after the two American generals, had successively been 
captured ; nothing short of a concentration of his whole 
available power could enable Washington even to 
attempt to hold his own against CornwalHs ; and he 
requested Lee at once to cross the Hudson, bringing all 
his Continental regiments with him. Four days after- 
wards, in the secure belief that his order was in course 
of being obeyed, Washington wrote another most im- 
portant letter which was intended to meet Lee on his 
way southwards. But time flew ; there were no signs 
of the approaching reinforcement, nor any satisfactory 
assurance that Lee had so much as broken up his camp 
on the Westchester peninsula; and the Commander-in- 
Chief could no longer refrain from sending a message 
which expressed anxiety, and indicated a rising anger. 
"My former letters," Washington wrote, "were so full 
and explicit as to the necessity of your marching as 
early as possible that it is unnecessary to add more on 
that head. I confess I expected you would have been 
sooner in motion." ^ 

It might have been thought that such an appeal, 
indited by such a hand, at a crisis when the very exist- 
ence of the nation was so gravely imperilled, would 
have overcome the irresolution of the most unstable and 
the most perverse among mankind. But Charles Lee, 
who in his own estimation was made in no common 

^Instructions to Major-General Lee, November lo, 1776. Washington 
to Lee, Hackensac, November 10 ; Newark, November 23, and again 
November 27. Washington to the President of Congress, November 23. 


mould, considered himself absolved from all ordinary 
rules, and even from those laws which constitute the 
code of military and civic honour. His head, which 
never could have been a wise one, had been turned by 
early successes, and was at present kept in a state of 
effervescence by a great deal of extravagant, and in 
some cases rather interested, flattery. He was an 
Englishman of good family ; a member of the class 
which in the eighteenth century almost monopolised 
the opportunities for advancement and distinction. 
Lee was an Ensign at sixteen, and he became a Colonel 
at thirty.^ In Portugal, under Burgoyne, he performed 
a brilliant feat of arms which won for him the favour 
and intimacy of his general ; and, after the Peace of 
Paris in 1763, he retired on half -pay, and spent the next 
few years in the pursuit of bustle and notoriety in what- 
ever quarter of the world events were stirring. Consti- 
tutionally unable to stay long in one place, or to remain 
for many months together in the same mind, Lee ram- 
bled over Europe, following that which, (according to 
his own account,) was the career of a paladin, but which, 
in the view taken by his matter-of-fact contemporaries, 
very closely resembled the life of an adventurer. He 
accepted service as a Major General of King Stanislaus, 
and fought in aid of the Russians, and against the 
Turks and the Confederates, in those confused and aim- 
less hostilities which ushered in the first partition of 
Poland. He is said to have been concerned in a series 
of desperate, and even mortal, duels. But what he 
writes about himself is not so told as to conciliate 

^ According to his official biography, Lee obtained a commission in the 
army as a child of eleven ; but an unsupported statement, drawn from 
that work, is not sufficient authority. Lee's mother was a Bunbury of 
Suffolk, daughter of the third baronet. The sixth baronet married Lady 
Sarah Lennox. " You ask me," wrote Lady Sarah in the summer of 1775, 
" what I say to my cousin Lee. Why, I say it is the element for boiling 
water ; and, as I dare say he persuades himself he is acting right, I don't 
pity him for falling in a cause he thinks glorious, as I fear he will erelong. 
I shall be very sorry for him ; for he has many good and great qualities 
to make up for his turbulent spirit and vanity, which, to be sure, are his 
weak side. But everybody has their faults." 


belief; and fate allotted him exactly the biographer 
whom he deserved. The narrative compiled by the 
editor of his papers and correspondence is inaccurate, 
insincere, and vague to nebulosity.^ There is a strange 
contrast beween the reputation which enveloped Charles 
Lee during what may be called the mythical and leg- 
endary period of his history, and the figure that he 
presented after his actions began to be watched, and 
his words noted, by the hard-headed observers who sur- 
rounded him in America. 

From the earliest days of the Stamp Act Lee declared 
himself against George Grenville's policy. In 1767 he 
wrote from Warsaw to a nobleman of his acquaintance, 
condemning what he described as the abomination of 
disfranchising three millions of people of all the rights 
of men, for the gratification of the revenge " of a 
blundering knavish Secretary of State, and a scoundrel 
Attorney General." ^ When war was imminent, Lee 
had an opinion on the merits of the controversy which, 
for him, was genuine and long-lived ; and he likewise 
was a disappointed man, with a grievance against his 
own Government. A pertinacious, and anything but a 
fastidious, place-hunter, he had of late years got nothing 
except a grant of twenty thousand acres in Florida ; to 
which shadowy benefit he would have vastly preferred 
a patent place bringing in a hundred solid guineas at 
the end of every quarter. He had purchased, on bor- 
rowed money, a small landed property in the colony of 
Virginia ; but he was not a colonist ; nor was he any 
relation, (as every American takes care to assure him- 
self,) of Light Horse Harry Lee, the right arm of 
General Greene in the Carolinas, — or of that magnifi- 
cent soldier who, forty years ago, led the Confederate 

^ Memoirs of the Life of the late Charles Lee^ Esquire, Lieutenant- 
Colonel of the Forty-fourth Regiment, Colonel in the Portuguese service, 
Major-General and Aide-de-Camp to the King of Poland, and Second in 
Command in the Service of the United States of America during the 
Revolution. Dublin ; 1792. 

2 General Lee to Lord Thanet ; May 4, 1767. 


army in the War of the Secession to many victories, 
and some glorious defeats. 

When in 1775 Charles Lee declared himself for the 
Revolution, it was a strong step for a British officer to 
take ; and he did not under-estimate the value of the 
support which he bestowed upon the party of his adop- 
tion. Lee never concealed his belief that he brought a 
large contribution of social prestige, and military talent, 
to the assistance of people who were lamentably devoid of 
both. He set a very high price on his personal sacrifices 
and his professional accomplishments. While better 
men, in that season of public distress and denudation, 
were spending largely of their own, and accepting noth- 
ing from the Federal Treasury, Lee exacted thirty thou- 
sand dollars as compensation for the loss of his estate 
in England, (which was no rich or unencumbered posses- 
sion,) and for the surrender of the half-pay which he drew 
as a commissioned officer in the Royal army. He ex- 
pected that, so soon as he declared himself an adherent 
of the Revolution, he would be hailed as Commander-in- 
Chief by acclamation ; but the gratitude of Congress, 
although excessive, stopped short of fatuity. Lee was 
included in the earliest list of Major Generals; a com- 
pliment which he accepted with the studied indifference 
of one who five years previously had received that title 
from the hands of a European monarch. 

Lee's disdain of American soldiership was as unbounded 
as his appreciation of his own genius and capacity. He 
had composed a treatise on a theme which always has 
had a peculiar attraction for bad generals with facile 
pens, — the nature and importance of the military coup 
d'ceil. That was a gift of which, when subjected to a 
singularly decisive test at the battle of Monmouth Court 
House, he proved to be as utterly destitute as any theo- 
rist that ever wore a sword ; but he none the less sneered 
at his colleagues behind their backs, and lectured them 
to their faces, about the arts of strategy and fortification, 
with a profuse assortment of technical verbiage, and in 
a tone of insufferable superiority. Every month that 


passed, his arrogance and pedantry grew more and 
more distasteful to men who were making themselves 
into good officers by applying to the business of war the 
sound sense, and honest purpose, which had already 
brought them prosperity in the civil affairs of life. It 
was not to be expected that a merchant or a farmer, who 
had reluctantly put on a uniform because his country 
was in danger, should relish being informed that one of 
his comrades, whose antecedents had been exactly the 
same as his, was an ignorant bumpkin ''who did not 
know a sandbag from a chevaux-de-frise ;'' and such 
criticism would be even less acceptable when it related 
to his own deficiencies, and was addressed directly to 
himself. Lee had been in chief command at Charleston 
when Sir Peter Parker was so roughly handled in June 
1776. The repulse of the British squadron was mainly 
due to Colonel Moultrie, who knew the land and water 
of old; who was acquainted with the character and 
capabilities of the local troops ; and who, a Carolinian 
himself, extracted from a Carolinian garrison the best 
fighting which they had to give. It was Moultrie who 
assisted in building, and displayed rare skill and resolu- 
tion in defending, that fort on Sullivan's Island which 
still bears his name. Lee's part in the affair was to 
mar, and meddle, and scold ; until his gallant and blunt 
subordinate contrived to make him understand that a 
competent and zealous officer, when the enemy is within 
gun-shot, does not relish being catechised like a cadet in 
a military academy who has fallen behindhand in his 
course of studies.^ 

^ " Does your engineer understand what is the necessary degree of talus 
for the traverse in the fort? If I recommend the construction of an ad- 
vanced fleche on the right flank, w^ill he comprehend it ? For heaven's 
sake, Sir, as you are in an important post, exert yourself. When you issue 
orders, suffer them not to be trifled with. I expect that you enforce the 
execution of whatever is necessary for the honor and safety of your garri- 
son." After pages of this ludicrously misplaced objurgation, Lee suddenly 
remembered that there were limits to the docility of a Southern gentleman, 
and apologised to Moultrie for his prolixity and didactic manner. He 
would have done better to tear up his letter ; but he was of those who 
cannot endure to waste a literary composition. 


Lee did not confine his strictures to American generals. 
At a moment when, overtaken by the consequences of 
his faults, he had ample food for reflection on his own 
account, he found leisure to compile an elaborate essay 
on the imperfections of Sir William Howe.^ As an 
executive soldier, (he said,) Howe was all fire and ac- 
tivity, brave and cool as Julius Caesar. But he was sel- 
dom left to himself. Never had poor mortal, thrust into 
high station, been surrounded by such fools and scoun- 
drels. "M'Kensey, Balfour, Galloway, were his coun- 
sellors ; they urged him to all acts of harshness. They 
were his scribes. All the damned stuff which was issued 
to the astonished world was theirs. I believe he scarcely 
ever read the letters he signed." That, at all events, 
was a charge to which Lee himself was not amenable. 
He and the officers of his staff were a happy family to- 
gether. Although very few military people were exactly 
to his fancy, he never was dissatisfied with his aides-de- 
camp ; 2 and they, on their side, had easy times under 
a chief who, (if literary style is any guide,) must un- 
doubtedly have penned or drafted every line of his own 
correspondence. For Lee's official despatches, and his 
private letters, are all in the same characteristic, and, 
(most fortunately,) inimitable manner. His accents, 
always strident, touched their shrillest note wherever he 
saw reason to apprehend that Congress would recognise 
the deserts of another as above his own. " Great God ! 

^ Lee's Character of General Howe ^ written in June 1778. The author 
was then under arrest, and awaiting a Court-martial. 

2 Lee gave General Gates a glowing account of the behaviour of his 
own Staff during the bombardment of Charleston. " Old Jenifer and little 
Nourse strutted like crows in a gutter. The fire was, I assure you, very 
hot. This affair is only the prelude to a more serious one, the event of 
which the great God of battles only knows. I mean the great and univer- 
sal God; not the partial God of the Jews." 

Lee's religious views kept turning up in very odd places. " I desire most 
earnestly," (so ran a provision in his Will,) " that I may not be buried in 
any church or church-yard, or within a mile of any Presbyterian or Ana- 
baptist meeting-house; for, since I have resided in this country, I have 
kept so much bad company when living, that I do not chuse to continue it 
when dead." 


Is it come to this? Have I not once already waived my 
military claims in deference to the whim and partiality 
of some of your members ? Did I not consent to serve 
under an old churchwarden, of whom you had conceived 
a most extravagant and ridiculous opinion ? Your eyes 
were at length opened, and Deacon Ward returned to 
his proper occupation ; and would you now a second 
time load me with a similar disgrace ? " 

That passage was a fair specimen of the intemperance 
and impertinence with which Charles Lee discussed 
questions of military promotion. He did not regard the 
native American officers as his equals. He scoffed and 
railed at the sober and religious among their number ; 
he was seldom a guest at the rather coarse and boister- 
ous festivities in which others of them were well satisfied 
to indulge ; and he was accused of not being ready to 
show, under his own roof or tent, sufficiently frequent 
examples of a more refined hospitality.^ With some jus- 
tice, but extraordinary indiscretion, he protested against 
the tendency of Americans to bedeck themselves with 
titles of office. He bade his companions remark how 
much more true dignity there was in the simplicity of 
address which prevailed among the ancient Romans ; — 
how majestically Decimus Brutus imperator, and Caius 
Marcellus consul, sounded as compared to His Excel- 
lency Major-General Noodle.^ Lee himself pointedly 
affected the English mode of dispensing with the desig- 

^ Captain Graydon, the author of the Pennsylvanian Memoir s^ was pres- 
ent at a barbecue; an entertainment which consisted in a hog roasted 
whole, with Madeira wine in proportion. Most principal officers of the 
army were there ; but not Washington, nor any of his staff. " Neither," 
(wrote Graydon,) " was General Lee of the company. He had been in- 
vited; but had drily replied, that 'he did not like barbecues.' In fact, 
they are seldom a very Attic entertainment. The party was joyous, and 
pretty full of liquor; and I had the chagrin to observe that the drummer 
and fifer who made music for them, and were deserters from the enemy, 
were sneering at some of the gentlemen, who did not entirely preserve the 
dignity of their station, and were by much too liberal in the reciprocal use 
of the term * General.' " 

2 Charles Lee to his Excellency Patrick Henry, jun., Governor of Vir 
ginia; July 29, 1776. 


nations of military rank in familiar conversation, and 
habitually spoke of '' Mr. Wolfe," " Mr. Howe," and 
" my Lord Cornwallis." He fondly hankered after the 
lost popularity which he had once enjoyed in the Royal 
army. He reluctantly began to perceive, (a conviction 
which, strange to say, was only gradually borne in upon 
him,) that, when he crossed over into the American camp, 
he had irretrievably forfeited the goodwill of gentlemen 
who still bore his Majesty's commission. He had made 
his choice, and he could not have it both ways ; but he 
never could prevail upon himself to acquiesce frankly in 
that inexorable fact. While acting the part of an enemy 
to Great Britain, he more or less consciously played to 
the British public ; and his eagerness to renew friendly 
relations with British officers at length conducted him 
up to, and over, the brink of actual treason to America.^ 
If he had had Arnold's sinister courage, and his power 
of concentrated, sustained, and passionate resentment, 
he would probably have taken a step similar to that 
which resulted in Arnold's ruin. Lee was saved by his 
poorer, rather than by his finer, qualities from the destiny 
which otherwise might have befallen him. The catas- 
trophe that terminated his career was humiliating and 
crushing ; but he was spared from the less tolerable fate 
of a detected traitor, who had escaped to live out the 
fag-end of his life in exile. A fine writer has remarked 
that into the story of Arnold there enters the element 
of awe and pity which is an essential part of real tragedy; 
but that the story of Lee, from the first act to the last, 
is little more than a vulgar melodrama.^ 

1 Fiske's American Revolution; chapters vii. and x. TyXtr's Literary 
History ; note at the end of chapter xviii. Wharton's Diplomatic Corre- 
spondence; Vol. II., pages 68 to 70, in the note ; and also section xi. 
of the introduction to the work. 

2 The American Revolution^ by John Fiske, chapter xiv. In August 
1778 Lee was tried for disobeying orders in not attacking the enemy at 
Monmouth Court House, and for making " an unnecessary, disorderly, and 
shameful retreat." He was found guilty and sentenced to be suspended 
from his command. That was the last which was heard of him as a soldier. 
" It would have been impossible," (Mr. Fiske writes,) " for a man of strong 
military instincts to have relaxed his clutch upon an enemy in the field, as 

VOL. m. • E 


That was the man on whom, during three critical 
weeks, the safety of America depended. At no period 
of his career did he act, or write, more entirely in 
character. On the twenty-first of November Washing- 
ton directed General Heath to occupy the passes on the 
road to Albany with the whole of his division, and called 
upon Lee at once to rejoin the main army with all his 
Continental battalions. It was an order that brooked 
no delay, and admitted no doubt whatsoever as to the 
meaning; but Lee preferred to construe it in a sense 
which favoured the views of his own personal ambition. 
He informed one of his correspondents that he had been 
summoned southwards across the Hudson, but that he 
regarded the message as dictated by ''absolute insanity; " 
and he desired Heath to detach two thousand of his 
troops, and send them, with a Brigadier General, to the 
assistance of Washington. Heath courteously repre- 
sented that it was impossible for him to neglect the 
Commander-in-Chief's specific instructions, a copy of 
which he enclosed for Lee's inspection ; and Lee there- 
upon, piqued and baffled, fell to arguing the point in 
harsh and overbearing terms. '* I perceive. Sir," he 
wrote, ** that you have formed an opinion to yourself 
that, should General Washington remove to the Straits 
of Magellan, the instructions he left with you on a par- 
ticular occasion have invested you with a command 
independent of any other superiors. I, of course, com- 
mand on this side the water. For the future, I must 
and will be obeyed." In thus addressing Heath he 
mistook his man. Eighteen months previously that 
brave and modest veteran had willingly handed over 
the chief command to Washington, in the persuasion 
that it was more honourable to obey, than to out-rank, 
a greater soldier than himself ; and the answers which 
he now sent to Lee's bullying requisitions were by no 

Lee did at the battle of Monmouth. If Arnold had been there that day, 
with his head never so full of treason, an irresistible impulse would doubt- 
less have led him to attack the enemy tooth and nail ; and the treason 
would have waited till the morrow." 


means wanting in the natural eloquence which springs 
from good sense and right feeling. And so, having 
come off second-best on paper, Lee determined to try 
what could be effected by the magic of his bodily pres- 
ence. On the thirtieth of November, — a full week 
after the date on which he ought by rights to have 
reported himself at Washington's head-quarters, — he 
appeared at Peekskill ; announced to General Heath his 
intention of carrying off two New England regiments ; 
and commanded that they should be got ready for the 
march. Heath peremptorily forbade his Deputy Adju- 
tant General to take any action in the matter ; and then, 
turning towards Lee, he expressed himself in language 
that there was no mistaking. "Sir," he said, **if you 
issue orders here which will break those positive ones 
which I have received, I pray you to do it completely 
yourself, and not draw me, or any of my family, in 
as partners in the guilt." Those old-fashioned words 
went straight to the mark. Lee stepped into the piazza, 
and observed to an officer that General Heath was in 
the right; and early next morning he withdrew his 
demand for the two regiments, and betook himself 
back to his own camp at White Plains.^ 

From that camp, save and except for the purpose 
of inciting a colleague to disobedience, Charles Lee 
had no present intention of stirring. In a letter to 
the American Adjutant General he adduced certain 
strategical arguments in defence of his refusal to move 
southwards ; although, as he candidly admitted, the 
weight of those arguments was perhaps overbalanced 

1 Heath's conduct received complete approbation in a letter written 
from Newark, on the twenty-fifth of November, by Colonel Harrison, 
aide-de-camp and secretary of Washington. " In respect to the troops 
intended to come to this quarter, his Excellency never meant that they 
should be from your division. He has wrote General Lee since so fully 
and explicitly that any misapprehensions he may have been under at 
first must be now done away. He will most probably have reached Peek's 
Kill before now with his division, and be pushing to join us." If such 
was the expectation which prevailed among the Head-quarters Staff, they 
had still something to learn on the subject of General Lee. 

S 2 


by the consideration that his own presence with the 
main army would do something to supplement Wash- 
ington's inefficiency. ** To confess the truth," he wrote, 
" I really think our Chief will do better with me than 
without me." Lee had no substantial excuse for his 
inaction. If he had punctually and expeditiously ad- 
vanced along the route which Washington had minutely 
indicated to him,^ he would have encountered no diffi- 
culty whatsoever. The distance between White Plains 
and Newark was almost exactly the same as that which 
was covered in twenty-six hours by General Craufurd 
and the Light Division, when they marched to the 
support of Sir Arthur Wellesley at Talavera. But the 
obstacles which prevented Lee from going whither duty 
called him were moral, and not material, — within him, 
and not in front of him. To his immense satisfaction 
he found himself invested with a separate command ; 
and he was fully determined that that command should 
be independent, until in the order of events it became 
supreme. Washington, and half his forces, had already 
been defeated ; and America would best be served by 
keeping from him the other half of an army which he 
was totally incapable of directing. That was Lee's 
diagnosis of the military situation; and he was at small 
pains to conceal his opinions and projects. He openly 
asserted, — even before hearers whom such expressions 
affected with contemptuous disgust, — that General 
Washington was not fit to order about a sergeant's 
guard, and that the Continental Troops, under such 
leadership, could not hope to withstand the British 
Grenadiers and Light Infantry. The day, according 
to Lee's anticipations, was close at hand when Wash- 
ington's incompetency would be universally acknow- 
ledged ; and on that day he himself was prepared to 
step forward and save the country. National gratitude 
would then be the reward of that prescient general who, 
at the risk of his own reputation, had preserved a body 
of fine troops, intact and in good heart, from the rout 

1 Washington to Lee; Newark, November 24, 1776. 


and demoralisation which must inevitably overtake the 
rest of the American forces. A similar thought, justly 
or unjustly, was believed to have governed Bazaine's 
course of policy in the Franco-German war of 1870; 
and all France united to stigmatise that Marshal as a 
traitor. In November 1776 Lee already recognised, 
with serene complacency, the light in which his own 
conduct was liable to be regarded. "There are times," 
he wrote, "when we must commit treason against the 
laws of the State ; and the present crisis demands this 
brave, virtuous, kind of treason." ^ 

In the meanwhile he could not deny himself the 
luxury of addressing the civil authorities throughout 
the States as if he was Commander-in-Chief already. 
He inundated America with his imperious advice, and 
his unsparing and most offensive criticism. He wrote 
to the authorities of Massachusetts recommending that 
the stores should be evacuated from the magazines at 
Boston, as the city was in danger of an attack by the 
enemy's fleet. He informed them that the officers of 
their provincial regiments were lacking in spirit, in- 
tegrity, and public virtue ; and that, if the men ran 
away in action, it was on account of the example set 
them by their superiors. He warned the Governor of 
Rhode Island that no confidence could be placed in 
New England generals. The highest trusts, (he com- 
plained,) were committed to those least qualified to 
exercise them ; although it was an axiom in warfare that 
" theory joined to practice, or a heaven-born genius," 
constituted the only title for a command in the field. 

lit is instructive to compare Lee's military action in December 1776 
with a letter which, not long before, he had taken upon himself to send 
to Congress. " For Heaven's sake rouse yourselves ! For Heaven's sake 
let ten thousand men be immediately stationed somewhere about Trenton ! 
In my opinion the whole depends upon it." That was written early in 
October, when the armies were manoeuvring on the other side of the 
Hudson, and when there was not a British regiment within eighty miles 
of Trenton. Two months afterwards, — when Trenton and Philadelphia 
itself were in imminent risk of capture, — the author of this exhortation 
contrived, as far as in him lay, that no reinforcements whatever should 
reach the seat of danger. 


He flatly refused to obey an order which had come to 
him through the agency of Nathanael Greene, — whose 
sash he was not fit to tie. Most astonishing of all was 
the correspondence which he exchanged with Washing- 
ton's own Adjutant General. Colonel Reed wrote to 
assure Lee that the safety of the army, and the liberties 
of America, rested upon him, and upon him alone. 
"You have decision," the Colonel said; " a quality often 
wanted in minds otherwise valuable. Oh, General ! 
An indecisive mind is one of the greatest misfortunes 
which can befall an army. How often have I lamented 
it this campaign ! " Lee, in reply, accepted the tribute, 
and concurred in deploring that fatal indecision which 
in war was a much greater disqualification than stu- 
pidity, or even want of personal courage. Lee's answer, 
which externally had been made up in the form of a 
public despatch, was opened, in official course, by the 
aide-de-camp on duty, and placed beneath the eyes of 
the Commander-in-Chief. Washington had a strong 
regard for his Adjutant General, and set much value 
upon his abilities. A civilian of mature age, Reed had 
surrendered a most influential position at home, and, at 
the earnest request of the Commander-in-Chief, had ac- 
cepted service in the Staff. The confidences which, 
in a weak moment, he had bestowed upon Charles Lee, 
were suggested by intense anxiety for the distresses and 
perils of the cause, and were expressed with the free- 
dom habitual to a politician of long, and high, standing 
who had not schooled himself to military reticence and 
self-repression. Of this Washington was well aware ; 
and he found no difficulty in ignoring, and forgiving, a 
transient flash of unfriendliness towards himself which 
was not accompanied by disloyalty to the Republic.^ 

1 It must be remembered, on Reed's behalf, that he was frank and bold 
in direct remonstrance against what he regarded as timid and dilatory 
strategy. On the twenty-second of December, 1776, he sent Washington 
an appeal couched in vigorous, and even passionate, language. "Our 
affairs," he wrote, "are hastening fast to ruin if we do not retrieve them 
by some happy event. Delay with us is now equal to a total defeat. . . . 
Pardon the freedom I have used. The love of my country; a wife and 


Washington cared little what gossip might be circu- 
lated about his indecision of character, if only he could 
have got hold of those two brigades of Continental in- 
fantry which still were idling at White Plains. On the 
first of December, in an urgent despatch, the Com- 
mander-in-Chief certified General Lee that, from infor- 
mation not to be doubted, the enemy were making for 
Philadelphia. "The force I have with me," he de- 
clared, " is infinitely inferior in numbers, and such as 
cannot give, or promise, the least successful opposition. 
I must entreat you to hasten your march as much as 
possible, or your arrival may be too late to answer any 
valuable purpose." That message, which breathed 
a perceptible flavour of an impending Court-martial, 
brought its recipient to a semblance of compliance. In 
the course of the next two days he crossed the Hudson, 
and began to loiter and dawdle down-country in the 
direction of Trenton ; marking the very short stages of 
his southward progress by epistles which were each of 
them more absurd and improper than the last. 

A week after Lee started on his expedition, (and by 
that time he had travelled barely five-and-thirty miles,) 
he informed General Heath, who was anything but a 
sympathetic confidant, that he was in hopes of recon- 
quering the province of New Jersey, which before his 
arrival had been at the mercy of the enemy. He was 
just then full of exhilaration over an unexpected stroke 
of business which he had done for his own profit and 
glory. Sir Guy Carleton's retreat to Canada had re- 
moved all hostile pressure from the northern quarter. 
So soon as Washington's entreaty for assistance was 

four children in the enemy's hands ; the respect and attachment I have to 
you ; the ruin and poverty that must attend me, and thousands of others, 
will plead my excuse for so much freedom." That was an unusual style 
for a communication addressed by a staff-officer to the general under 
whom he served ; but Washington made full allowance for the emotional 
nature of a man that he liked, and never ceased to trust. There exists a 
generous testimony to the merits of the Adjutant General, written by his 
chief a few weeks subsequent to the date of Colonel Reed's own unbe- 
coming correspondence with General Lee. Washington to the President 
of Congress : Morristown, January 22, 1776. 


conveyed to Albany, General Schuyler responded without 
an hour's hesitation, and put in motion such regiments 
as he could spare, if regiments they might be called. 
The strongest of them had been reduced by hardship 
and disease below the size of a couple of companies ; 
but the soldiers who survived were all the more intent 
on being in time to help their countrymen. Enfeebled 
in health, and ill supplied with food, in a single week 
they accomplished a hundred and thirty miles ; until 
they reached a neighbourhood where Lee contrived to 
lay hands on four out of their seven battalions. He 
attached them to his own command, and ordered them 
to take their place in his column of march, where they 
were thenceforward as completely out of the game as 
if they had been intercepted and captured by Lord 
Cornwallis. It was a cruel injury to Washington, 
whose vexation was aggravated by the triumphant tone 
of the despatch in which the unwelcome tidings were 
imparted. This addition to bis own army, (so Lee 
reported with an excruciating air of self-satisfaction,) 
enabled him to dispose of five thousand good troops, 
full of fight, and glowing with patriotism. He very 
soon threw aside the last pretence of subordination. 
On the eighth of December he plainly notified to the Com- 
mittee of Congress that it was no longer his intention 
to unite forces with Washington ; and the same post 
carried the same information to the Commander-in-Chief 
himself. ** If," (so that letter ran,) ** I was not taught 
to think that your army was considerably reinforced, I 
should immediately join you ; but I am assured you are 
very strong, and I imagine we can make a better im- 
pression by hanging on their rear." On the morning of 
that very day Washington, with an attenuated band of 
famished and exhausted followers, was making his 
escape across the river Delaware in quest of a tem- 
porary and precarious refuge from destruction. 

Deserted and flouted by his principal lieutenant, 
and robbed of half his army, Washington was racked 


by solicitude of which no outward traces appeared in 
his placid features, and his composed and dignified 
bearing. Brave and patriotic men, who were them- 
selves in the forefront of danger and responsibility, 
rightly conjectured, from their own sensations, the 
care and sorrow which underlay that calm exterior. 
" My heart bleeds for poor Washington. I wish to 
God that it were possible to lead the fifteen hundred 
hardy veterans you left with me to your assistance, but 
for one day. But as that is out of my power I can 
only wish you success, and assure you that the post you 
left to my charge shall be maintained." Those words 
were in a letter addressed to General Gates by An- 
thony Wayne, the fiery warrior to whose guardianship 
the great national outpost of Ticonderoga had been 
committed. Washington himself, in his despatches 
of December 1776, refrained to a noticeable degree 
from the touches of sadness, and personal vexation, 
which he sometimes allowed to be observed in him 
under less trying emergencies. Those despatches were 
of a multifarious nature, voluminous in bulk, and scru- 
pulously specific in detail ; but with never a syllable 
more than the elucidation of the subject demanded. 
They contained as little as possible which could dis- 
courage colleagues and subordinates who needed all 
the equanimity and hopefulness that they were able 
to command. Where Washington had occasion to im- 
press upon a correspondent the necessity for instant, 
and intense, exertion he would sketch the situation in 
a sentence or two, very sparingly interspersed with 
adjectives ; and that situation was sufficiently formi- 
dable without any word-painting.^ During one short 
moment, in the course of those terrible weeks, he 

1 " It is a matter of concern to me that, in my last, I directed you to 
take back any of the militia designed for the support of the army under 
my command, and have to request that you will hasten them on with all 
possible expedition, as I see no other chance of saving Philadelphia, and 
preventing a fatal blow to America, in the loss of a city from whence so 
many of our resources are drawn." Washington to Major-General 
Spencer ; December 22, 1776, 


unpacked his heart to his younger and favourite 
brother, who never allowed a secret entrusted to him 
by George Washington to get abroad, whether that 
secret referred to facts or to feelings. " You can 
form,'* (the General wrote,) '* no idea of the perplexity of 
my situation. No man, I believe, ever had a greater 
choice of difficulties, and less means to extricate him- 
self from them. However, under a full persuasion of 
the justice of our cause, I cannot entertain an idea that 
it will finally sink, though it may remain for some time 
under a cloud." ^ 

That self-control which the Commander-in-Chief 
practised as a duty, and which well became him, was 
not to be looked for in writers of the revolutionary 
party who held no official position that bound them to 
dissimulate their anxiety, and to weigh their phrases. 
The agony of the crisis lent to their archaic, and some- 
what artificial, rhetoric a note of very genuine power 
and passion. The most telling appeals in the pages of 
the public journals were addressed to those of their 
readers who lived in closest proximity to the scene of 
action. What apology, (it was asked,) could Pennsyl- 
vanians make to their brethren in Virginia, and South 
Carolina, and Massachusetts Bay, who themselves had 
repelled the invader from their coasts, if he was 
enabled, through local apathy and cowardice, to get 
possession of the vitals of the Continent .'* *' Such an 
event would render the name of a Pennsylvanian as 
infamous as that of an ancient Cappadocian. Let 
the words of the prophet sound perpetually in our 
ears : * Cursed is he that doeth the work of the 
Lord deceitfully, and keepeth back his sword from 
blood.* *' " Should you now," (so ran another pas- 
sage,) ** by a miserable lassitude suffer your exulting 
enemy to cry Victory, what must be your miserable 
lot } You will be a hissing among the nations, and the 
despised of the world. * He is an American : he dared 

1 Letter to John Augustine Washington ; Camp, near the Falls of Tren* 
ton, December i8, 1776. 


not be free/ will be a proverb translated into every 
language." ^ 

These incitements and admonitions were not super- 
fluous ; for the fears which pervaded Philadelphia were 
fast assuming the dimensions of a panic. The Whigs 
were crestfallen and desponding, and profoundly dis- 
trustful of the neighbours among whom they lived. 
Those numerous and very influential citizens, who had 
opposed the Declaration of Independence, saw that 
an opportunity had now arrived for assailing the Rev- 
olution with such weapons as, in each respective 
case, their conscience permitted them to wield. The 
Quakers, with the courage which is never wanting 
to them, conspired in the face of daylight. Their 
Meeting for Sufferings, under date of Twelfth Month 
Twentieth 1776, called upon all the members of their 
Society to withstand the arbitrary injunctions of men 
who assumed to themselves the power of compelling 
others to take part in war, and who imposed tests not 
warranted by the precepts of Christ, or by the laws of 
that happy political constitution under which the Friends 
had long enjoyed tranquilHty and peace. Other Loyalists, 
— whose bellicose intentions were not a more serious 
menace to the American cause than the meek, but 
invincible, ill-will of the Quakers, — made active prep- 
arations to rise in arms as soon as the British should 
come within striking distance of the Pennsylvanian 
capital. These people had skated up and down the 
Delaware, as boys and men, almost every winter of their 
lives ; and they confidently anticipated that the first hard 
frost would bring Cornwallis and his infantry dry-footed 
across the river. The condition of the streets was so 
alarming that General Israel Putnam, whom Washing- 
ton had placed over the city as military Governor, 
gave orders that any of the inhabitants who appeared 
abroad after ten o'clock at night should be arrested 
and detained. Putnam's ostensible mission was to 

1 Hampden to the Associators of Pennsylvania ; Eparainondas to the 
people of Pennsylvania \ November, and December, 1776. 


fortify the approaches to the suburbs with a line of 
earthworks ; but the real motive of his appointment 
was a hope that his vigour and popularity might do 
something to restore public confidence, — a confidence 
which there is reason to believe that the old general 
himself was very far from sharing.^ A report had 
been diligently put about that, rather than surrender 
Philadelphia to the British, the Continental troops 
would destroy the town. Washington judged it neces- 
sary publicly to refute the story ; and, by his direction, 
Putnam announced that he should consider an attempt 
to burn the city as a crime of the blackest dye, and 
would punish capitally, without ceremony, any incen- 
diary who had '* the hardiness and cruelty " to engage 
in such an enterprise. ^ 

Scared by the alarm of fire, and by the more immi- 
nent probability of a visitation from the Hessians, fami- 
lies of all ranks loaded waggons with their furniture, 
and fled forth into the comparative security of the rural 
districts. Apprehension, and even despair, affected 
some who ought to have been proof against the conta- 
gion ; and more especially certain politicians who, ever 
since Philadelphia was in danger of attack, had been 
inditing heroic letters, and making very gallant speeches. 
A great deal had been said and written about those 
Conscript Fathers who sate in their porches awaiting 
the irruption of the Gauls; and about the sale of the 
plot of land on which Hannibal was encamped outside 
the walls of Rome, — that celebrated auction to which, 
in the course of the last two thousand years, approving 
reference has so often been made by people who, had 
they been alive at the time, would have been the very 
last to come forward as bidders. On the tenth of 
December, Congress solemnly resolved to defend the 

^Ambrose Serle, in a letter to Lord Dartmouth of December 3, 1776, 
reported some remarks which Putnam, while lodging in the house of a 
rich New Jersey Loyalist, was said to have made concerning the hopeless 
situation of the Revolutionary army. 

* Order of December 13, 1776. 


Federal Capital with all the force that could be mus- 
tered, and fell valiantly to the work of assembling and 
organising a garrison. On the eleventh of the month, 
they invited the several States to appoint, each for itself, 
a day of fasting and humiliation. During the same sit- 
ting they carried a Resolution denouncing as " false and 
malicious " a rumour that they were about to disperse, or 
adjourn, from Philadelphia ; and they requested the 
Commander-in-Chief to publish their denial of the cal- 
umny in a General Order to his army. Washington 
declined to adopt their suggestion in a letter marked by 
admirable good sense, which he certainly did not find 
cause to regret having written.^ After another interval 
of just twenty-four hours, the very few Members of 
Congress who still were attending to their duties voted 
an adjournment, and next day transferred themselves 
southward to Baltimore ; leaving Robert Morris, and 
two others of their number, to act for them in Pennsyl- 
vania. Their departure accentuated the terror in the 
city, and was very ill taken by the army. " For God's 
sake," (asked an indignant Colonel,) " why did you 
remove from Philadelphia .'* You have given an invita- 
tion to the enemy, and have discovered a timidity that 
dispirits our friends. A good face among men in power 
keeps up the spirits of the people; and one cheerful 
countenance may do wonders. I have run off with com- 
plaints, and am led to make them by the damned gloomy 
countenances seen wherever I go, except among the 
soldiers." 2 

On the other side in politics soldiers, and civilians as 

1 Washington respectfully, but very clearly, explained to the President 
of Congress why the Members should not have made their staying or 
going, the subject of a Resolution. " Their remaining in, or leaving, 
Philadelphia must be governed by circumstances and events. If their 
departure should become necessary, it will be right. On the other hand, 
if there should not be a necessity for it, they will remain, and their 
continuance will show the report to be the production of calumny and 
falsehood." Washington to the President of Congress ; Trenton Falls, 
December 12, 1776. 

2 Colonel Cadwalader to Robert Morris ; December 15, 1776. 


well, wore beaming faces, and were liberal in their 
exultation over the prospect of a triumph which now 
seemed fairly within their grasp. There had been one 
short period of the campaign when the Loyalists were 
nervous and uneasy ; but, in the main, they had all 
along made sure of victory. " The whole say and 
desire of the army," (wrote a Queen's Ranger in Sep- 
tember,) *' is to have the rebels stand their ground ; and 
the jig will be at an end." As time went forward, and 
the Americans were decidedly worsted, partisans of the 
Crown began to speak as if serious fighting was over, and 
the hour of retribution had already sounded. Every 
door in New York, behind which there was a family in 
sympathy with rebellion, had long ago been marked 
with a broad R ; and the Tories of the city promised 
that an example should soon be made of the inmates. 
On the second of December an English field-officer 
wrote home that Mr. Washington had been seen retreat- 
ing with two brigades to Trenton, which he talked of 
defending ; but that the revolutionists were in such a 
panic that no part of New Jersey could hold them, and 
it would require very little pressure to make them evacu- 
ate Philadelphia. ** The Congress," this gentleman 
added, " consists now of only seven members ; and they 
are in such consternation that they know not what to 
do. The two Adamses are in New England ; Franklin 
has gone to France ; Lynch has lost his senses ; Rutt- 
ledge has gone home disgusted ; so that the fools have 
lost the assistance of the knaves. However, should 
they embrace the enclosed proclamation, they may yet 
escape the halter." In England it was very generally 
believed that the flame of colonial resistance was flicker- 
ing out, and might at any moment sink into ashes. 
Even Horace Walpole, who always read his news in a 
light the most unfavourable to the policy of the Cabinet, 
allowed that the Americans must submit to such terms 
as they could obtain unless France, without reserve or 
hesitation, interposed for their benefit.^ Edmund Burke 

1 Walpole to Mann ; December 20, 1776. 


knew the Stock Exchange, not altogether from the out- 
side ; and he was already watching for the moment when 
the collapse of the American cause should be signified 
to the London world by an upward leap in the price of 
Consols which would fill the pockets of speculators 
favoured with private information from Downing Street. 
Government, (he said,) would no doubt make the for- 
tunes of all their creatures by imparting to them the 
earHest intelligence.^ 

The sky was very black, and hope had almost died 
out from the hearts of Americans, when of a sudden 
the light broke forth in a most unlikely quarter of their 
gloomy horizon. A people observant of anniversaries, — 
the best of whom retained the old belief that their 
national welfare and security did not depend on their 
own exertions, but were in the keeping of a higher 
power, — might well have marked the thirteenth of 
December with a white stone in their calendar; for 
that day was signalised by two events which, to a New 
Englander of four generations back, must have pre- 
sented every appearance of special providences. Then, 
for the first time. General Howe disclosed to those 
about him his intention of suspending further military 
operations until the spring came. He distributed the 
greater part of his army into winter quarters throughout 
the northern counties of New Jersey ; he covered his 
front with a line of detachments which, during the 
next fortnight, was admiringly described by military 
critics as a strong and impenetrable " chain of posts ; " 
and he himself withdrew to New York City, taking 
Lord Cornwallis with him. Intelligent Loyalists, even 
such as were not professional soldiers, then and there- 
after were unanimous in accounting that fatal resolution 
as the death-blow of their party. American Whigs, — 
when they came to understand the full consequences of 
the step which Howe had taken, — were not disposed 
censoriously to examine his motives for a course of 
action which was so exactly to their own mind ; but 
1 Edmund Burke to Richard Champion ; January 1777. 


Tory refugees, in the bitterness of penury and exile, 
disseminated the story, (which to them, at any rate, 
was no legend,) that the British general was in a hurry 
to exchange the hardships of the open field for a life of 
sloth and gross self-indulgence beneath the roof of an 
urban mansion.^ 

Howe might love ease and pleasure ; but he was no 
selfish voluptuary, and he liked to see others comfort- 
able and happy around him. The return of the Head- 
quarters Staff to New York was followed by ten days of 
universal jollity, — the harbingers, as everybody antici- 
pated, of a cheerful and plenteous winter. All the 
town markets were regularly and largely supplied, and 
cantonments in the provincial districts overflowed with 
rural luxuries. Good beef, veal, and mutton might be 
bought at threepence to fourpence a pound ; bread was 
as cheap as in London; and there were apples and 
peaches for the asking, with cabbages and potatoes 
in abundance. Our officers amused themselves with 
pastimes, innocent, questionable, or estimable. Balls 
were given ; faro-tables were set up ; and a play was 
rehearsed at the theatre, which was to be performed 
for the benefit of families left destitute by soldiers who 
had fallen in the war. Bright expectations centred 
themselves round the banquets which were in prep- 
aration to celebrate Sir William Howe's approaching 
investiture as Knight Commander of the Bath ; for 
that rank had been conferred upon him as a reward 
for his victory on Long Island. Cornwallis, always 
very indifferent to the titles and honours which were 
conferred upon himself, did not wish to spend more 
evenings than he could help in wetting his Commander- 
in-Chief's red ribbon. Since apparently no fighting was 
at hand for some months to come, he obtained leave to 
sail for England ; not, like Burgoyne, to push his for- 
tunes, but in order to visit his children and his wife. 
That poor lady could not endure the separation from 

1 Judge Jones's History of New York; Vol. I., chapter viii., pages 171 
and 176. 


her noble and kind companion, and was perpetually 
tortured by anxiety for the safety of a life of which 
her husband was so little chary in battle. Two years 
afterwards Lady CornwaUis died, if ever woman did, of 
a broken heart.^ 

Washington who, according to his unvaried practice, 
had " a number of small parties out to make discoveries," ^ 
very soon perceived that the stress of the campaign was 
relaxed, and that he might count upon a breathing-space 
which would enable him to collect his means, to mature 
his plans, and to refurbish his energies. He felt as the 
captain of a dismantled vessel, driven by the tempest 
towards a lee-shore, would feel if the wind veered 
straight round when he was within a few score fathoms 
of the rocks. Nor was he yet at the end of his mercies ; 
for the thirteenth of December had another gift in store 
for him. Lee was still meandering, at his own pace, 
through the northern townships of New Jersey. The 
record of his march stands by itself in the annals of 
modern warfare. After receiving the order to move, 
he remained stationary for ten days at White Plains ; 
during the next week he travelled less than six miles a 
day ; and then his rate of progress came down to an 
average of three miles for every twenty-four hours. 
Tradition avers that General Jomini, the famous writer 
on Strategy, first introduced himself to the notice of 

1 Cornwallis contrived to see his wife in England during the earlier 
months of 1778, and then returned to America with Lord Carlisle, who 
was bound thither as a Special Commissioner, and who thus wrote to 
George Selwyn from Portsmouth : " Poor Lord Cornwallis is going to 
experience something hke what I have felt; for he has brought with him 
his wife and children, and we embark to-morrow if the wind serves. My 
heart bleeds for them." 

When the ship weighed anchor, Lady Cornwallis returned to her life 
of solitude. Grief played upon her health, and brought on the illness 
which killed her. Cornwallis was fetched home in time to be with her at 
the last ; and she begged of him that a thorn tree should be planted above 
the vault where she was buried, as nearly as possible over her heart, and 
that no stone should be engraved to her memory. Both wishes were 
carried out. Correspondence of Marquis CornwaUis; chapter i. 

2 Washington to the Council of Safety of Pennsylvania ; Head-quarters, 
Bucks County, December 15, 1776. 



Napoleon by naming the precise date when the Em- 
peror would reach a certain point in the map on his 
way to Jena. But Jomini himself, even if he had Von 
Moltke to assist him, might well have shrunk from the 
problem of calculating the moment at which Charles 
Lee would ultimately have rejoined Washington. The 
solution of that problem can never be known ; for an 
untoward accident abruptly terminated the leisurely 
journey. On the twelfth of December Lee left his 
troops at Vealtown with General Sullivan, who had 
shown such alacrity in hurrying forward those reinforce- 
ments which Schuyler had despatched from Albany, and 
which Lee had arrested and detained. Lee himself, — 
probably with the notion that his absence from the col- 
umn might afford an excuse for an another day's halt 
upon the road, — slept that night in a tavern at Bask- 
ingridge, under the protection of a small escort, and 
separated by the distance of more than a league from 
the bulk of his command. There he lay in bed till eight 
o'clock on the following morning, when he was aroused 
for an interview with Major Wilkinson, aide-de-camp of 
Horatio Gates, who had brought him a message from 
that officer. Lee passed two hours with Wilkinson, 
vapouring and growling, and cavilling at the short- 
comings of all his fellow-generals. He was in low spirits ; 
for he had recently lost his three best horses ; most 
assuredly not by over-work.^ At ten he breakfasted, 
and then, as if the day was still young, he sate down to 
compose an ornate reply to Gates. "The ingenious 
manoeuvre," he wrote, **of Fort Washington has 
unhinged the goodly fabric we had been building. 
There never was so damned a stroke.^ Entre nouSy a 
certain great man is damnably deficient. ... It is said 

^ General Lee's advertisement, offering a reward for the recovery of 
his horses, is given in the American Archives for December 1776, They 
were a black, a bay, and a sorrel, — none of them over fifteen hands high. 

2 Lee had told Colonel Cadwalader that, when he learned the fall of Fort 
"Washington, he was so excited that he tore the hair out of his head. Lam- 
bert Cadwalader to Timothy Pickering ; May 1822. 


the Whigs are determined to set fire to Philadelphia. 
If they strike this decisive stroke, the day will be our 
own ; but, unless it is done, all chance of liberty in any 
part of the globe is for ever vanished." The letter 
was not yet folded when Wilkinson, who was looking 
from the window, cried out, " Here are the British 

It so happened that Colonel Harcourt had ridden 
forth from Lord Cornwallis's head-quarters in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Delaware, in order to ascertain for 
himself what Lee and Sullivan were about. The colo- 
nel was never too fine a gentleman to do his own scout- 
ing ; and he now got his reward ; for a Baskingridge 
Loyalist brought him information of the unique chance 
which awaited him at the tavern on the cross-roads.^ 
Harcourt was attended by thirty troopers of the Six- 
teenth Light Dragoons. It was the same regiment that 
had followed Lee in his dashing raid across the Tagus 
on the fifth of October, 1 762, — the only unequivocal 
day of honour in his diversified career. The party was 
very strongly officered, for they had with them their 
Colonel, and one of their Cornets ; while Banastre Tarle- 
ton, — then a subaltern in the First Dragoon Guards, 
and afterwards famous as the cavalry-leader whose 
deeds of valour and of cruelty alternately illuminated 
and darkened the later history of the war, — accom- 
panied them as a volunteer. When Harcourt and 
Tarleton heard the news, they were on fire at the pros- 
pect of fun and glory. The young fellows turned their 
horses' heads for Baskingridge, and arrived there an 
hour before noon, early enough to find Lee still in his 
dressing-gown. The house was surrounded, and the 
glass began to fly as bullets rained in at the windows. 
The assailants were so skilfully disposed, and made 
such a din with their carbines, that they produced upon 
the enemy's nerves an effect of being more than double 

^ Colonel Harcourt's presence at Baskingridge is very clearly explained 
in Sir William Howe's despatch to Lord George Germaine of the twentieth 
of December 1776. 

F 2 


their actual numbers.i Lee's escort ran away ; and he 
himself had no choice except to surrender. His be- 
haviour, according to rumour, displayed neither man- 
liness nor dignity ; but it is not easy to be taken prisoner 
heroically. Howe, in his report of the affair, recom- 
mended Colonel Harcourt to his Majesty's gracious 
attention for his infinite address and gallantry ; and the 
compUment was just. Within four minutes after the 
attack began, Lee, — in the garb of a half-dressed slip- 
shod civilian, and mounted on Major Wilkinson's 
charger, which had been left tethered outside the tavern, 
— was careering southward amid the little troop of 
British horsemen ; and, during those four minutes, the 
dragoons had contrived to let off more than a hundred 
cartridges. There was need for haste. Harcourt had 
near thirty miles to travel along causeways much less 
evenly laid than the coach road between Nuneham and 
Oxford ; and the Whigs, in the townships through 
which he passed on his way to Baskingridge, had risen 
in arms behind him. During the return journey, his 
Cornet was shot dead from the saddle by the gun of a 
Jersey farmer ; ^ but Harcourt allowed nothing to divert 
or to delay him until he had securely lodged his man 
within the British lines at Pennington. 

General Lee's capture was everywhere regarded as 
an event of first-rate magnitude, and excited an emotion 
by no means confined to our own islands ; for in several 
European capitals he was personally and familiarly 
known to military men for whom Washington was only 
a name. The tidings created extraordinary elation in 
England, and more particularly throughout those coun- 
ties which bordered on the Thames valley, where the 
Harcourt interest was strong, and the Colonel himself 

1 Washington, in his official account of the occurrence,spokcof the Eng- 
lish Light Horsemen as seventy strong. 

2 During more than a century afterwards local tradition pointed to a 
spot by the roadside where this young officer was said to have been hastily 
buried. In 1891 the grave was opened, and regimental buttons of the 
Sixteenth Light Dragoons were found amid the mould. 


had always been a special favourite.^ Lee's showy 
qualities, and his dramatic history, had caught the 
imagination of the writing world ; and, when he was 
announced to be under lock and key, there were joy and 
triumph in London as though a battle had been won. 
The metropolitan newspapers, — in a phrase which to 
Lee's own taste must have seemed exceedingly fine, — 
congratulated Sir William Howe on having taken the 
Palladium of America. One journal related how the 
prudent advice of our distinguished prisoner had saved 
the Continental army from being cut to pieces on the 
Westchester peninsula. Another, when fortune had at 
length smiled upon the Americans, discovered that it 
was General Lee who had reconnoitred the Hessian 
position at Trenton in the disguise of a peasant, and had 
devised the plan of attack which an ignorant world 
attributed to Washington. In America itself, Charles 
Lee had already been detected and judged by a dis- 
criminating few ; ^ but the great mass of his fellow- 
countrymen still believed in him as implicitly as ever. 
His mishap, coming on the top of their other disasters, 
bewildered and disheartened them ; and they insisted, 
with an importunity which the governing authorities 
were compelled to heed, that as early as possible, and 
at any cost, he should be redeemed from captivity, and 
placed once more in exalted command. Their anxiety 
on his behalf was sharpened by a report that he was to 
be court-martialled as a deserter from the British army, 
because the resignation of his position as a half-pay 
officer had not yet been officially accepted by the War 

1 "This is to give notice that Thursday night will be held as a day of 
rejoicin in commemoration of the takin of General Lee, when there will 
be a sermint preached, and other public demonstrations of joy ; after 
which there will be a nox roasted whole, and every mark of festivity and 
bell-ringing imaginable, with a ball and cock-fighting at night in the 
Assembly-room at the Black Lyone." Notice by James Clinch, Parish 
Clerk and Cryer of Tring in Buckinghamshire ; February 13, 1777. 

2 "There is something so eccentric in the man's temper, and such a 
vacancy of principle, that it is impossible for all his talents, which have 
been much enlarged upon, to support a reputation." Ambrose Serle to 
Lord Dartmouth ; August 1776. 


Office in London. He was said to have been placed in 
close confinement, and deprived of all materials for 
writing; which in his case would most certainly have 
been the refinement of cruelty. Whatever might be 
Washington's inward reflections, they were draped be- 
neath a decent veil of conventional, and apparently 
quite sincere, regret. In a private letter to his brother 
he mentioned Lee's incarceration as an additional mis- 
fortune for the public cause, — the more vexatious as 
it was by the General's own folly and imprudence, and 
without a view to effect any good, that he had fallen 
into hostile hands. ^ 

Washington before long, to his grievous loss, got 
Charles Lee back once again ; but he was quit of him 
for the time being, and of that precious time not a 
shred was wasted. The next fortnight was a season of 
immense activity in the American lines. A spark of 
hope soon appeared in cheerful minds ; and in more 
sombre dispositions there was a fixed intention of dying, 
if death must be faced, elsewhere than on the gallows, 
or amid the horrors and rigours of the New York jails. 
The Commander-in-Chief now at last enjoyed an assur- 
ance, — ^the utmost boon which a strong man claims 
from destiny, — that, however bad the situation might 
have become, it henceforward depended upon himself 
alone to make the best of it ; for Congress, when ad- 
journing to Baltimore, had resolved that " General 
Washington be possessed of full power to order and 
direct all things relative to the department and to the 
operations of war." That access of authority in the 
right quarter was welcomed by the American army. 
Washington, in his relations with others, had always 
evinced the unselfishness of a good comrade, and the 
self-abnegation of a true leader ; — those qualities which 
cannot fail to secure the willing obedience of all honest 
and earnest men. *' I knew," wrote Sherman to Grant, 
"that, wherever I was, if I got into a tight place you 
would help me out of it alive." That was a compliment 

1 Washington to John Augustine Washington ; December i8, 1776, 


which Washington seldom, or never, failed to deserve. 
Eight or nine months previously, at the opening of a 
formidable campaign on the result of which his fame 
and career were staked, he had despatched ten regi- 
ments, of his very best, to the assistance of General 
Sullivan, then in jeopardy on the northern frontier; 
and now his own turn had come to appeal for aid from 
all his colleagues who were not so immediately and 
urgently threatened as himself. Sullivan had faults ; 
but his warm Irish nature contained no particle of dis- 
loyalty or ingratitude. On learning what had happened 
at Baskingridge tavern, he took prompt and resolute 
hold of the command which had so suddenly fallen 
vacant. Having assembled Lee's division upon parade, 
he rode jauntily along the front of the lines in order to 
show the troops that they still had a competent leader 
to direct them ; and, with his own voice, he gave them 
the word to start on their journey to the place where 
they were sorely wanted. He made a sweeping circuit 
to the westward, which took him well outside all risk 
of contact with the British outposts ; but he marched 
four times as quickly as the measure of speed with 
which his predecessor had of late been contented. On 
the fifteenth of December Sullivan crossed the Dela- 
ware at Easton, a point forty miles above Trenton ; and 
on the twentieth, in a heavy snowstorm, he handed 
over his troops to the Commander-in-Chief, and reported 
them as fit and keen for duty, although " much out of 
sorts, and much in want of everything." ^ 

A few days after Sullivan had passed through Easton, 

1 On the seventeenth of December Doctor Shippen wrote to Richard 
Henry Lee, from Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, a letter which is preserved 
in the American Archives. " I have not heard of any clothes and old 
wine. I fear the varlets have them as secure as poor General Lee. Oh ! 
What a sneaking way of being kidnapped ! I cannot bear to think of it. 
I saw all his troops, about four thousand, this morning, marching from 
Easton in good spirits, and much pleased with their general." 

David How, the diarist of Bunker's Hill and Boston siege, was in Lee's 
army ; and his humble narrative indicates the vastly increased energy 
which Sullivan infused into the movements of that force. 


he was followed across the Delaware by four other bat- 
talions which General Schuyler had detached from the 
garrison of Ticonderoga as soon as Sir Guy Carleton's 
back was fairly turned. Anthony Wayne, sickening 
for a fight, had eagerly volunteered to conduct these 
reinforcements in person. Schuyler, however, could 
not spare him from his post ; and this second contin- 
gent of the Northern army was brought into the camp 
on the Delaware by Benedict Arnold. Washington, be- 
fore November ended, had directed General Mifflin to 
visit the capital of Pennsylvania, and raise what force 
he could from that province. It was an admirable 
selection, inasmuch as Mifflin had a singular gift for 
arousing enthusiasm, and the sense of obligation, in the 
hearts and consciences of other men. He was very 
successful with the city militia, who turned out in a 
most spirited manner, and rallied round the drooping 
standard of their country fifteen hundred strong.^ Mif- 
flin received that reward which is the most acceptable 
to a zealous man who has done a good stroke of public 
work. He was at once given something more to accom- 
plish; and having secured so large a muster from the 
town, he was ordered off again, then and there, to try 
his hand on the rural districts. Nor was Arnold de- 
tained on the banks of the Delaware ; for Washington 
was too good an economist of motive power in war to 
keep at his own elbow, in subordinate employment, a 
soldier of such commanding vigour and dauntless initia- 
tive. The coast population of Connecticut and Rhode 
Island lived under the perpetual menace of Governor 
Tryon's vindictive forays. Arnold was sent there with 

" Dec. 15. This morning, at Day Brake, we set off, and at 10 o'Clock 
at Night we got to Philips Borough, then crossed DuUerway River and 
went to East Town in Pennsylvania. 

" 16. We have ben geting our Baggage a Cross, and geting waggons 
for the March this day. 

" 17. This morning we set out And marched 12 miles to Bethlem and 
staid in the woods there." 

1 Washington to Governor Trumbull ; Trenton Falls, December 12, 


a roving commission to protect the eastern sea-board 
from incendiarism and rapine ; and, in the successful 
prosecution of that service, he soon had two horses shot 
under him, and only saved his own life by his coolness 
and dexterity in a personal encounter.^ 

Washington had no occasion to withdraw men of 
ability from distant quarters and important duties ; for 
his cantonments swarmed with excellent officers. He 
could not desire more alert and enterprising generals 
than Greene and Stirling, or braver colonels than Stark 
of New Hampshire, and Haslet of Delaware. Two 
special departments of the army were destined to exer- 
cise a decisive influence on the events of the next few 
weeks ; and in both of those departments Washington 
was eminently well provided. His field batteries were 
in charge of Colonel Knox, who in the previous winter 
had brought the great train of heavy ordnance from 
Lake Champlain to the American trenches outside Bos- 
ton. Knox was chief of the artillery all the while that 
hostilities lasted ; and his practical acquaintance with 
the use of cannon in siege-work, and in battle, greatly 
enhanced his efficiency as an administrator. The per- 
sonal authority which he exerted over his own branch 
of the service was henceforward firmly established by 
the skill and dash with which his guns were manoeuvred 
during the operations now impending.^ The other im- 
plement of war which Washington had in perfection 
may be described as his pontoon-corps ; although it was 
designated on the roll of the American army as the 
Fourteenth Continental Foot. It was composed of the 

^ After the action was over, some thrifty New England farmers took 
the skin off one of the animals, and found in it no less than nine bullet- 
holes. Arnold killed with his pistol a soldier who offered to bayonet him 
as he lay entangled in his stirrups on the ground. 

2 Washington described Knox as a very valuable officer, of great mili- 
tary reading, sound judgment, and clear conceptions ; who, combating 
almost innumerable difficulties, had placed the national artillery upon a 
footing that did him honour. Those were the terms in which the Com- 
mander-in-Chief answered a proposal, emanating from the politicians, to 
supersede Knox by a Frenchman. Washington to the President of Con- 
gress, May 31, 1777 ; to Richard Henry Lee, June i, 1777. 


men who, during the blockade of Boston, had swept 
crops and cattle off the islands in the Bay from under 
the guns of Admiral Graves and his squadron ; and 
who, on the night of the thirteenth of August 1776, 
had conveyed the American army safe and sound across 
the East River after their defeat in front of Brooklyn. 
They had been recruited from that seafaring population 
of Marblehead, which was thrown out of work by the 
Act of Parliament excluding the New England colonies 
from participation in the Newfoundland Fisheries. The 
rank and file were mariners all ; clad in blue round 
jackets, and in those loose short trousers which, (as a 
student of Gillray's caricatures will remember,) formed 
the distinguishing dress of shipmen at a time when 
every landsman still wore breeches and long stockings. 
They carried rifles ; and had shown themselves good 
soldiers in a shrewd skirmish on Westchester peninsula. 
The regiment had been raised by Colonel John Glover, 
who before the Revolution owned a number of vessels 
manned by the seamen whom he afterwards led to war. 
Small of stature, but brisk and stout-hearted, he had 
now been promoted to the charge of a brigade. He 
continued, however, to keep a close and loving eye on 
his sailors ; and he was well supported and seconded by 
his regimental officers, who at this period of the cam- 
paign were as one to six of the privates. A critic from 
the middle colonies, very sparing indeed of any compli- 
ment to New Englanders, admitted that Colonel Glover's 
officers had mixed with the world, and knew how to 
make themselves respected and obeyed. The men, 
(this gentleman said,) were deficient in polish, but af- 
forded a notable example in all the essentials of disci- 
pline.^ One of their captains was John Blunt, a New 
Hampshire shipmaster, who had often taken his trading 
schooner up the Delaware to the head of the tide at 

^ Memoirs by Alexander Graydon of Pennsylvania. There is an ac- 
count of Glover's regiment in William Stryker's Battles of Trenton and 
Princeton. The numbers and composition of Washington's army are 
given by that excellent author in minute, and most interesting, detaiL 


Trenton, and who now was making himself familiar 
with the higher stretch of river which lay between that 
point and Coryel's Ferry.^ 

Not in Glover's regiment only, but throughout the 
Continental army, Captains and Lieutenants were in 
excessive proportion to the soldiers whom they com- 
manded. Six of the brigades contained between them, 
present and fit for service, four thousand men and five 
hundred officers. This immense multitude of commis- 
sioned people included some bad characters, and many 
who could show few military attributes except their title 
and their epaulettes ; but none the less the very pick of 
the nation was there. Great numbers of respectable 
and prosperous colonists had abandoned their trades 
and their professions in order to see the Republic 
through its early perils. Men of this class had stood 
proof against the infection of despondency and timidity 
which, when the star of the Revolution began to decline, 
had thinned the Provincial army. Those of them who 
were not invalided to their homes, or prostrated on the 
mattresses of Philadelphian hospitals, had remained 
steadfast and indefatigable at their appointed station in 
Washington's dwindling ranks. And while older citi- 
zens, at the bidding of duty, reluctantly sacrificed family 
life and profitable avocations, there had been a joyous 
exodus from school and college of all that was most 
ambitious and keen-witted in America. The army on 
the Delaware contained not a few striplings of excep- 
tional talents, and with a shining future. We are told 
that the New York company of artillery " was a model 
of discipline ; its captain a mere boy, with small, slender, 
and delicate frame, who, with cocked hat pulled down 
over his eyes, and apparently lost in thought, marched 
beside his cannon, patting it every now and then as if 
it were a favourite horse or pet plaything." This was 
Alexander Hamilton ; indubitably the most brilliant, and 

1 The places mentioned in this chapter, and in the next, may all be 
found in the Map of New Jersey, and of New York and its Environs, at 

the end of the volume. 


perhaps the most tragic, figure in all the historical gal- 
lery of American statesmen. After the peace he was 
foremost among the poUtical architects who planned and 
constructed the fabric of her stable and stately Consti- 
tution ; and, as a fitting crown to his military career, he 
was invited by Washington, at the siege of Yorktown, 
to lead an assault which was the final and decisive on- 
slaught of the entire war. In December 1777 the pre- 
cocity of Hamilton's genius had gone beyond the stage 
of mere promise. He was not yet of age ; but his repu- 
tation as an eloquent, and still more as a thoughtful and 
convincing, speaker had been already made. The two 
pamphlets which, when just turned eighteen, he had put 
forth in reply to the Westchester Farmer, were ascribed 
at the time to more than one public man of high mark 
and recognised authority, and are still read with admira- 
tion by the best judges of polemical literature.^ 

Another distinguished regimental officer, for the 
present attached to the infantry, was a cousin, although 
no very near one, of the Commander-in-Chief. Captain 
William Washington always took his share of a fight on 
foot ; but Virginian gentlemen were then seen at their 
best in the saddle. Before very long he was famous as 
the leader of cavalry who taught American troopers to 
charge home, and who, by an almost infallible discern- 
ment in timing the moment for an onset, gained one 
crushing victory, and saved two stubborn battles from 
degenerating into ruinous defeats. His imperturbable 
valour, and remarkable bodily strength, went, (as is not 
unusual in such natures,) with an excess of diffidence 

1 Hamilton's Full Vindication of Congress, and his Farmer Refuted, 
were attributed by some to John Jay, and by others to William Livingston. 
** There are displayed in these papers a power of reasoning and sarcasm, a 
knowledge of the principles of government and of the English Constitution, 
and a grasp of the merits of the whole controversy, that would have done 
honor to any man, at any age. . . . They show great maturity, — a more 
remarkable maturity than has ever been exhibited by any other person, at 
so early an age, in the same department of thought." This passage, 
written by George Ticknor Curtis, is quoted, with concurrence, by Pro- 
fessor Tyler in his Literary History. 


whenever he was called upon to face the less familiar, 
and to him far more redoubtable, ordeals of civic life. 
Picton, the hero of heroes, — who for forty-eight hours 
concealed what was almost certainly a mortal wound in 
order not to be prevented by the surgeons from leading 
his division at Waterloo, — twice excited respectful com- 
passion by the evident distress with which he rose to 
respond when he was thanked in his place in the House 
of Commons. And so, when the war was over, and 
William Washington's friends desired to nominate him 
for the Governorship of the State, he gave them that 
which he pronounced to be an unsurmountable reason 
for declining the proffered honour. He reminded them 
how, as holder of such an office, — an office, moreover, 
in which no less an orator than Patrick Henry had been 
among his predecessors, — he would undoubtedly be 
expected to speak in public. ** In that case," he said, 
" I know that, without gaining credit in your estimation, 
the consciousness of inferiority would humble me in my 
own. I cannot make a speech."'^ 

The junior officer in William Washington's company 
was a lad even younger than Hamilton, and not his 
equal, (as indeed very few were,) in intellectual endow- 
ments or in personal charm. And yet, if in the course 
of ages both their memories were to perish, that of Lieu- 
tenant Monroe would in all likelihood be the last for- 
gotten of the two ; for he was the James Monroe who 
in December 1823, as fifth President of the United 
States, enunciated the policy which defeated the machi- 
nations of the Holy Alliance, and which deprived Spain 
of her American colonies. The famous doctrine, where- 
with his surname is indissolubly associated, has been 
frequently revived and reasserted with marked effects 
upon the history of the world ; and a very great deal 
more will have to be written about it before that history 
attains the closing chapter. As time proceeds, and the 
giant Republic grows increasingly conscious of its 
strength, fresh occasions will arise, or be made, for the 

^ Garden's Anecdotes of the American Revolution ; Vol. I., page 6l. 


use, or misuse, of the most formidable and far-reaching 
of all diplomatic weapons ; and during generations, and 
even centuries, to come, the name of Captain Washing- 
ton's subaltern in the Third Virginian Continental 
Infantry may still be a word of disagreeable import 
among the Chancelleries of Europe. 

General Washington's troops, in numbers and in 
equipment, bore very little resemblance to the army 
of a nation which, in the lifetime of some there present, 
would order the combined autocrats of Eastern and 
Central Europe to forbear from meddling, and force 
them to recognize the Western Hemisphere as an invio- 
lable sanctuary of freedom and self-government. Very 
few indeed of his regiments were as much as two hun- 
dred strong, and some of them could only muster from 
forty to ninety privates. The Third Virginian, (to take 
a specimen instance,) had a hundred and sixty enlisted 
men around the colours ; while no fewer than four hun- 
dred and fifty were reported as sick, or on extra duty, 
or on furlough, — which was often only another word 
for absence without leave. Regulars and militia together, 
it is probable that about eight thousand Americans stood 
in arms over a front of thirty miles along the Pennsyl- 
vanian shore of the Delaware.^ It was a force which in 
military parlance might have been stated at six thousand 
five hundred bayonets, were it not that one soldier out 
of every three was still unprovided with that very essen- 
tial weapon. The Philadelphia Associators, fresh from 
homes close at hand and stocked with comforts, were 
in good condition for a winter campaign ; but it was 
less well with the Continental regulars who had been 

^ This is the calculation of William S. Stryker, himself a professional 
soldier, and a skilled examiner of records. On the twenty-second of 
December, 1776, a "Return of the Forces encamped on the banks of the 
Delaware, under the command of His Excellency George Washington Esq., 
Commander-in-Chief of the Forces of the United States of America," 
gives 4704 Rank and File present for duty. But some of the regiments 
from the Northern army, the large body of Philadelphia militia, and 
apparently a few other smaller contingents, were not included in the 


marching and fighting ever since the middle of August. 
Many among them were barefoot ; and Washington was 
reduced to send round the Pennsylvania villages to beg 
or buy old clothes and blankets for his freezing soldiers. 
But at any rate they were soldiers, — true metal that had 
been tried in the fire; from whose ranks the cowards 
and sluggards had all deserted, while the feeble in body 
had been eliminated by the searching hardships of those 
cruel months. They were clad like scarecrows : but 
each of them carried a gun whose tricks he knew, with 
the barrel as clean as oiled rag could make it ; and in 
that camp rags were plenty. They now were somewhat 
rested ; for they slept sound under a tight roof, behind a 
broad river ; and, for the first time during many a long 
day, they had enough to eat. Robert Morris, who was 
working with the zeal and devotion of ten fair-weather 
administrators, confessed that the transport and com- 
missariat had been seriously deranged ever since Con- 
gress had retired to Baltimore.^ But the hamlet of 
Newtown, which contained Washington's head-quarters, 
lay only a few leagues distant from Philadelphia ; and 
the townsmen of that hospitable capital, on both sides 
of politics, loved to regale those who agreed with them 
in opinions. Provision-waggons came and went through 
the mud and snow with a regularity which showed that 
Benjamin Franklin, when he sailed for France, had not 
taken all the resource and energy of his adopted city 
with him. The veterans of Haerlem and of White 
Plains had never lost their courage ; and now they got 
back their buoyancy. They were tired of being told that 
they had practised the back-step long enough.^ Their 
fancy was not captivated by the prospect of recom- 
mencing a retreat over vile log-roads, far away from 
any chance of good victuals ; and they were more 

1 Robert Morris to Colonel Cadwalader; American Archives. 

2 « Where are your good ladies ? My love and best compliments to 
them, and desire that they will take care of themselves, lest our retrograde 
soldiers should run them down. I wish you would introduce a new step 
into your army. I am sure they are perfect in the back-step by this 
time." William Shippen to Richard Henry Lee ; December 1776. 


inclined to push forward across the Delaware before 
the Hessians had killed all the turkeys, and burned 
up all the dry billets of wood, in the province of New 

These men entertained very definite notions about 
the cause which had brought them from their ploughs, 
from their dairies, and from the counters of their stores. 
They had learned to read at school ; and they retained 
the habit in after life, instead of breaking off their 
education at that precise point of childhood when the 
intellect unfolds itself to the appreciation of the dehght 
and instruction which books afford. ** In many towns," 
(we are told,) " and in every city, they have public 
libraries. Not a tradesman but will find time to read. 
He is amused with voyages and travels, and becomes 
acquainted with the geography, customs, and commerce 
of other countries. He reads political disquisitions, and 
learns the outlines of his rights as a man and a citizen." ^ 
Nor was that the case with townsmen only ; for already 
good books were treasured, and slashing newspapers 
eagerly sought, by farmers and rural mechanics, who 
in the long Northern winter had more time for study 
and reflection than the people who lived in the streets 
of a city. Leisure, indeed, was not abundant in Wash- 
ington's army on the Delaware ; but the minds of his 
soldiers were profoundly stirred, and the full signifi- 
cance of national politics was brought before their 
eyes in a very visible and concrete shape. Nothing 
ever arouses so lively an interest in literary productions 
as personal intercourse with those who create them. 
The writers who had most successfully evoked a martial 
spirit in America did not lie open to the taunt which, 
since wars first began, has been levelled against those 
who instigate others to fight, but who will not fight 
themselves ; — a taunt which the ancients embodied in 
the fable of the trumpeter who begged for quarter on 
the plea that he never had killed anyone with his own 

^ " Letter written by a foreigner on his Travels ; " by Francis Hopkin- 
son. American Archives for December 1 776. 


sword. During the earlier operations in the campaign 
the author of the " Answer to a Westchester Farmer " 
might have been seen loading and pointing in the thick 
of the fire, or trudging contentedly at the head of his 
battery while his charger helped to drag the cannon ; 
and any Patriot in uniform, when he had done his turn 
of sentry, and felt inclined for some conversation on 
public affairs, might exchange ideas with a still more 
celebrated pamphleteer, who occupied a humbler military 
station than Alexander Hamilton in that exceptionally 
constituted army. 

Thomas Paine, in the very flush of his influence and 
reputation, had shouldered a knapsack, and joined the 
Flying Camp as a Pennsylvania militiaman. General 
Greene made him one of his aides-de-camp; but an 
appointment on that staff, during those weeks, carried 
with it very little either of privilege or luxury. In the 
flight from Fort Lee Paine lost his baggage and his 
private papers ; ^ but he had kept, or borrowed, a pen. 
He began to write at Newark, the first stage in the 
calamitous retreat ; and he worked all night at every 
halting-place until his new pamphlet was completed. It 
was published in Philadelphia on the nineteenth of De- 
cember, under the title of '' The Crisis," and at once flew 
like wildfire through all towns and villages of the Con- 
federacy. In Europe the piece attracted less attention 
than had been paid to its predecessor ; for, whereas 
** Common Sense " had been a reasoned exposition of 
state policy, "The Crisis" was an impassioned appeal 
to arms. That circumstance, however, endowed Paine's 
glowing rhetoric with a special value in the estimation 
of Americans. To their mind's eye the little work was 
adorned by an imaginary frontispiece of a soldier writ- 
ing by the watch-fire's light, with his comrades slumber- 

^ A letter written from the British army relates that on this occasion 
"the rebels fled like scared rabbits, leaving some poor pork, a few greasy 
proclamations, and some of that scoundrel ' Common Sense ' man's letters ; 
which we can read at our leisure, now that we have got one of *thc 
impregnable redoubts ' of Mr. Washington's to quarter in." 



ing round him ; and it was among those comrades that 
the author found his warmest admirers and his most 
convinced disciples. The privates were called together 
in groups to hear " The Crisis " read ; and it would 
have borne the test of reading aloud even before a 
more exacting audience. ** These are the times that 
try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine 
patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his 
country ; but he, that stands it now, deserves the love 
and thanks of man and woman." ^ 

Such were the first words of that thrilling exhorta- 
tion ; and what followed was of a piece with the open- 
ing sentences. Americans in the army were especially 
pleased by the parallel drawn between their commander 
and the last King of England who had been a famous 
warrior. William the Third, (it was said,) never ap- 
peared to full advantage but in difficulty and danger. 
"The character fits General Washington. There is a 
natural firmness in some minds which cannot be un- 
locked by trifles. I reckon it among public blessings 
that God hath blessed him with uninterrupted health, 
and given him a mind that can flourish upon care." If 
to applaud that sentiment was flattery on the part of 
Washington's soldiers, it was none the less a tribute 
which honoured those who paid it, and proved that they 
had not degenerated from their forefathers. The 
nation from which they issued, — of which, only six 
months before, they formed a part, — in peril and 
disaster is slow to blame those of its servants who have 
honestly and faithfully done their best at home and in 
the field ; and no other trait in the British character 
inspires foreigners with more genuine respect and 
admiration, not unmixed with envy. Washington de- 
served the confidence of his supporters ; for he set an 
example of the manner in which men should think and 
act when their country is in grave peril. While labour- 
ing with all his powers to recapture success, he steadily 

1 Moncure Conway's Life of Thomas Paine ; Vol. I., chapter yiic 
Tyler's Literary History; chapter xxiv., sections i and 2. 


trained his mind to contemplate the very worst that 
could possibly befall. Asked what he would do if 
Philadelphia were taken, he is reported to have answered 
that he would retreat beyond the Susquehanna River, 
and thence, If necessary, into the Alleghany Mountains.^ 
He had penetrated the inward meaning of the secret 
which, in the last extremity of fortune, sustains the 
brave, " who resign themselves to everything in thought, 
but in action resign themselves never." ^ 

^ The Life of Washington by Jared Sparks ; chapter ix. 
* " II faut par la pensee se resigner k tout, et dans Taction ne sc 
rcsigner jamais." 



Before Washington retired into the forests which lay 
west of the Susquehanna he intended to see whether 
something might not yet be done on the east of the 
Delaware. That region afforded a possible and, (to his 
judgement,) a promising field of action now that the 
British general had withdrawn his head-quarters to 
New York, and disposed the bulk of his troops in can- 
tonments over the five northern counties of New Jersey. 
The situation was fairly enough described in a letter by 
a Virginian colonel, who wrote that in December 1776 
General Howe held a mortgage on the American army, 
but had decided not to foreclose. Years afterwards, 
when both the immediate and the secondary conse- 
quences of his untoward decision were patent to the 
world. Sir William Howe discoursed to the House of 
Commons about the operations of that winter at con- 
siderable length, and with apparent frankness. He 
owned that the left wing of his cantonments in New 
Jersey had been dangerously extended towards the 
southward. He defended himself, however, on the 
score of his desire to protect a district containing many 
inhabitants, who had committed themselves to the 
Royal cause on the faith of his own express invitation ; 
and the assertion of this honourable motive was neither 
an excuse nor an after-thought.^ He was blamed, (so 

^ On the twentieth of December, 1776, — nearly a week before Trenton, 
— Howe wrote thus to Lord George Germaine. " The chain, I own, is 
rather too extensive ; but I was induced to occupy Burlington, to cover the 
county of Monmouth in which there are many loyal inhabitants ; and, 
trusting to the general submission of the country to the Southward of this 
chain, and to the strength of the corps placed in the advanced posts, I 
conclude the troops will be in perfect security." 



he acknowledged,) for having entrusted the post of 
danger to other than British troops ; but he pleaded 
that our German auxiliaries had all along been stationed 
on the left of his line, and that to shift them from that 
position would have been an imputation upon their 
courage and discipline which up to that time they had 
not deserved. During the Seven Years' War, (so he 
reminded Parliament, and few had a better right to 
speak about that war than William Howe,) the Hessians 
had been reputed to be as good soldiers as any in 
Prince Ferdinand's army. But, while profuse in his 
self -justification on all minor and collateral charges, 
Howe put the main question aside in silence. He did 
not explain why he had checked the rush of his victori- 
ous campaign ; had deliberately surrendered the power 
of bringing on a combat at his own time and place ; 
and, by breaking up his force into isolated and station- 
ary fragments, had handed over the advantage of the 
offensive to Washington. 

The six brigades of Royal troops quartered in the 
Jerseys were put in charge of Major General Grant, 
who located himself at New Brunswick on the Raritan 
river, as nearly as possible in the centre of his com- 
mand. The shore of the Delaware, facing the whole 
extent of the position where Washington's army lay, 
was occupied by a Hessian division under the orders of 
Colonel Von Donop. He was an exceedingly valiant 
officer who, within a year afterwards, died very nobly 
for a cause which in his own view was not worthy of 
so great a sacrifice. Von Donop, with the insight of 
a genuine soldier, recognised that both opponents must 
have had their say in the matter before a campaign 
could be declared closed ; and he found no reason to 
believe that the Americans were a party to the bargain. 
He foresaw that all his regiments, acting together, were 
none too many to ensure their own safety ; and he 
urged that the entire division should be massed, and 
kept on the alert, in a position suited for defence, and 
not very near the enemy. The town of Trenton he 


regarded as too exposed for security ; and any body 
of troops, which might be quartered there, was in his 
view a forlorn hope. But Colonel Rail, — as the reward 
of his undoubted services at White Plains, in front of 
Brooklyn, and particularly at Fort Washington, — 
claimed the command of a brigade, with head-quarters 
of his own. Howe let himself be talked over, and Rail 
was placed at Trenton with three fine regiments of 
Hessian infantry. The officers of his corps for the 
most part regarded their adversaries with the disdain 
of professional soldiers for irregular levies, and of petty 
aristocrats for hard-working, self-supporting citizens. 
German letters and diaries, during this period of the 
war, were impregnated by ideas then potent in Europe, 
but which never had, — and, it is to be hoped, never 
will have, — any vogue whatever in America. Some 
very curious observations, made by these gentlemen 
after Putnam's defeat on Long Island, have been pre- 
served for the instruction of posterity. Among the 
prisoners, (they wrote,) were many so-called colonels 
and lieutenant-colonels, who in reality were nothing 
but tradesmen and mechanics, tailors, shoemakers, and 
barbers ; and some of them had been well knocked about 
by the German grenadiers, who would by no means 
consent to treat such people with the tenderness due to 
commissioned officers. General Putnam was a butcher 
by profession ; much such another as butcher Fischer 
at Rinteln in North Hesse. Their artillery was miser- 
able, mostly of iron, and mounted on ship-carriages. 
As for the privates, these wretched creatures merited 
pity rather than fear. No regiment was properly uni- 
formed. Every man had a common gun, such as the 
citizens of Cassel marched out with at Whitsuntide, 
which it took him a quarter of an hour to load ; and he 
would always be glad to surrender his fire-arms, and 
himself too, if only he were not afraid of being hanged 
for a rebel.^ 

^Many extracts to this effect from German military publications are 
given in Mr, Lowell's book on the Hessians. 


Insolence and over-confidence were not discouraged 
by the Brigadier in command, who was a brave, proud, 
and stupid man. Imbued with the densest prejudices 
incidental either to his class or to his calling, he neg- 
lected the most ordinary precautions against a foe 
whose defects he ridiculed, and to whose very remark- 
able military qualities, which were not exactly those of 
the Potsdam guard-parade, he was wilfully and incu- 
rably blind. Colonel Rail's present circumstances by 
no means justified his self-complacency ; for the position 
which his force occupied was extremely hazardous. 
Some of his junior officers displayed a zeal, and an 
interest in the reahties of soldiering, which put the in- 
dolence and recklessness of their chief to shame; for 
no fewer than three Hessian lieutenants have left each 
of them a plan of Trenton which would do credit to any 
modern Staff College. The place was within a few 
hundred yards of a navigable river, of which the 
Americans had the undisputed command ; but Colonel 
Rail's most serious danger was in the opposite quarter. 
Several high roads, leading from the interior of the 
province and from the crossing-places further up the 
stream, converged upon a spot at the northern entrance 
of Trenton where a single battery of hostile cannon 
could sweep, from end to end, the two broad straight 
streets which constituted the village. That spot, more- 
over, was to rear of the Hessians, planted fair and 
square across their communications ; and, if it was 
seized and maintained by a superior American force, 
nothing could save their brigade from a total and irre- 
trievable overthrow.^ The more intelhgent German 
officers felt relief and satisfaction when Von Donop 
paid a visit to Trenton in order to examine the ground 
with his own eyes. He directed Colonel Rail to raise 
a small fortification at the Ferry, and, as a matter of 
prime necessity, to erect a redoubt, with flanking angles 

^ The scale of the map at the end of this volume has been calculated 
to show the battle-fields of Trenton, and of Long Island, sufficiently for 
the purposes of the reader. 


for cannon, at the meeting of the roads to the north of 
the village. Rail made a show of acquiescence, and 
ordered faggots to be prepared for the construction of a 
battery; but, after Von Donop's departure, he stayed 
his hand, and his six field-pieces, instead of being 
mounted in embrasures where they might protect the 
approaches, were all parked near the middle of the 
town in a graveyard at the back of the English 

Rail's three regiments were distributed among the 
public buildings and places of worship, or in the private 
dwellings of King's Street and Queen's Street in the 
proportion of a company to every five or six houses. 
The men, though snugly lodged, were allowed very 
little time to themselves. A capable officer. Lieutenant 
Andreas Wiederhold, has recounted the proceedings of 
that fortnight at Trenton in terms which indicate a deep 
feeling of shame and resentment.^ The soldiers, he 
wrote, were harassed with watches, detachments, and 
pickets without purpose and without end. The cannon 
were drawn forth every day, and paraded about the 
town seemingly only to make a stir and uproar. 
Whether his men kept their muskets clean and bright, 
and their ammunition in good order, was of little mo- 
ment to Colonel Rail ; but of the regimental bandsmen 
he never could either see or hear enough. The officer 
on guard for the day must march round and round the 
churchyard in front of the Commandant's windows, 
with his men and musicians looking for all the world 
like a Roman Catholic procession, ** and wanting only 
the cross, the banner, and the chanting choristers, at 
their head." Rail amused himself far into the night, 
and slept late of a morning. "When we came from 
parade," said Wiederhold, "at ten o'clock to his quar- 
ters, we had many times to wait half an hour because 
he had not finished his usual bath." At length, em- 
boldened by the arrival of a renewed and pressing 

1 Wiederhold died in Cassel in 1803, where he was Inspector of the 


message from Von Donop, some of Rail's subordinates, 
both young and old, implored him to commence in- 
trenching without delay; but they got nothing from 
him except some clumsy banter. Major Von Dechow, 
who commanded the Knyphausen regiment, was an 
old officer of Frederic the Great. Though severely 
wounded at Fort Washington, he had dragged himself 
back to take a share with his comrades in the perils 
which he foresaw to be impending. His earnest but 
respectful expostulations were encountered, on the part 
of Colonel Rail, with a bad imitation of those epigrams 
that were frequent in the mouth of the great captain 
under whom Von Dechow had formerly served.^ A 
superior officer's satire, however pointless, does not 
admit of retort; and silence was imposed upon proud 
and gallant men by the implication that they were 
afraid of a parcel of cowardly rebels, whom a bayonet- 
charge over open ground would at once send to the 
right-about. Lieutenant Colonel Scheffer, of the Von 
Lossberg regiment, was actually worried into a fit of ill- 
ness by the folly that he was compelled to witness, and 
by the prospect of a calamity which hourly grew more 
definite and inevitable. 

The river in front of the Hessian position was hostile 
water. At the cardinal moment of the war a large 
portion of our naval, as well as of our military, strength 
had been diverted from that central and vital enterprise 
on which the two combined services had hitherto been 
engaged, and sent on a distant and subsidiary expedition 
to Rhode Island. The full unwisdom of that policy 
now became apparent. There were British schooners 
and gunboats lying superfluous and useless in Narra- 
gansett Bay which ought to have been employed, on 
very active service indeed, between the right and left 
banks of the Delaware. Lord Howe, with his brother's 

1 " Let them come," said Rail. ** We want no trenches. We will go 
at them with the bayonet." " Colonel," answered Von Dechow, " an 
intrenchment costs nothing. If it does not help, it can do no harm." 
And then he held his peace. 


army to help him on land, might easily ere this have 
broken up the chevaux-de-frise which guarded the 
course of the stream at a point forty miles below 
Trenton. Much harder tasks have not seldom proved 
to be within the competence of the Royal navy; and, 
when once our smaller vessels had penetrated above the 
obstructions in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, the 
river would have been our own. English lieutenants and 
senior midshipmen, — the like of Edward Pellew, and 
the other young fellows who had handled the sloops 
and bomb-ketches under fire at Valcour Island, — would 
very soon have sunk or taken all the craft that floated 
on the upper reaches of the Delaware, with decisive 
effect on the result of the campaign. It might indeed 
be objected that the current of a river only a few hun- 
dred yards wide was a dangerous cruising-ground, as 
long as one of the shores continued to be in the occupa- 
tion of the enemy; but a practical refutation of that 
argument was afforded by an American sailor. If the 
western bank of the Delaware remained in the power 
of General Washington, the eastern bank was strongly 
held by the Royal forces. And yet Commodore Sey- 
mour, of the Continental navy, ranged freely up and 
down with his row-galleys and gondolas; landed wher- 
ever he chose; searched suspected houses; made pris- 
oners of formidable Tory partisans ; and expelled the 
German outposts from every ferry, quay, farm, and 
village that was situated within cannon-range of his 
decks. ^ 

Nothing British or Loyalist could slip across to 
Pennsylvania except by stealth, and at imminent risk 
of death or captivity. On the other hand parties of 

* The Loyalists of Burlington, through the mouth of their Tory mayor, 
entreated Colonel Von Donop to take away his troops, as otherwise the 
American flotilla would proceed to a bombardment of the town. Von 
Donop hesitated to comply with their request ; and Commodore Seymour 
discharged a few round-shot, which injured no one, but effectually cleared 
the place of the Hessians. This Mayor of Burlington was Mr. John 
Lawrence, the father of James Lawrence who, as Captain of the 
Chesapeake, was killed in her duel with the Shannon. 


Americans, — thirty, seventy, and, on occasion, even 
four hundred strong, — boated over to New Jersey as 
openly as if they were a troop of graziers repairing in 
time of peace to a mart or a cattle-fair; attacked out- 
lying pickets ; cut off foragers ; and killed dragoons 
who were carrying messages from one Royal com- 
mander to another. These roving bands were supplied 
with information, and forewarned of danger, by Jersey 
farmers and townsmen who already had had more than 
enough of their German champions and defenders. 
Rail's correspondence with Colonel Von Donop a^ Bor- 
dentown, with General Grant at New Brunswick, and 
with General Leslie at Princeton, — whenever he could 
contrive to get a letter through, — soon became a dole- 
ful record of alarms, anxieties, and misfortunes. At 
length, after a pair of orderlies had lost, the one his 
horse, and the other his life. Rail sent an officer, 
escorted by a hundred men and a piece of artillery, to 
admonish Leslie that communication between Trenton 
and Princeton would soon be impracticable unless the 
wing of a regiment was stationed at the intermediate 
village of Maidenhead. It was a signal evidence that 
the use of metaphors, often misleading in politics, may 
sometimes be absolutely fatal in war. Before ever the 
packet, bearing Sir William Howe's despatch of the 
twentieth of December, had got past Sandy Hook on 
her way to England, the brigade at Trenton, which that 
roseate epistle pictured as one of a strong and continu- 
ous chain of posts erected for the protection of a loyal 
district, was already, in fact and in truth, a beleaguered 
garrison abandoned to its own resources in the midst 
of a bitterly disaffected population. 

Washington was apprised of all that took place on 
the opposite side of the Delaware. The collection of 
secret intelligence, throughout the war, was a depart- 
ment which he kept in his own hands, and to which he 
devoted everything that he possessed of industry, acute- 
ness, and discretion. In the utmost penury of the 
Philadelphian treasury, — when the paper issued by 


Congress had become so discredited that a pound of 
sugar cost fifty shilKngs, and a single garment from a 
tailor's shop sold for a thousand dollars in currency,^ -^ 
Washington always made a point of having by him a 
small supply of hard money to pay for early and accu- 
rate information about the movements and, if possible, 
the intentions of the enemy. He doled out that pre- 
cious metal to his officers, all the continent over, in 
sums of twenty, and twenty-five, guineas at a time. He 
sent them phials of invisible ink for confidential corre- 
spondence, and directions how to use it ; together with 
minute instructions as to the individuals who should be 
employed, and the assumed names by which they were 
severally called.^ The methods and doings, and even 
the identity, of some among his most trusted agents 
were known to himself, and to himself alone. Their 
personal risk was awful ; for a detected spy, in either 
camp, suffered instant, certain, and shameful death, in 
obedience to the stern military code which all nations 
equally recognised. But there was a danger which 
American citizens feared yet worse than the gallows. 
It was indispensable for them, (so Washington himself 
expressed it,) to bear the suspicion of being thought 
inimical to the national cause ; nor was it in their power 
to assert their innocence, because their future usefulness 
would be destroyed if once they disclosed themselves 
as partisans of the Revolution.^ These men implicitly 
relied upon their general's promise that, when the war 
was over, their true story should be made known to 

^ The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography for April 
1901; page 21. 

2 Washington to the President of Congress, August 25, 1778; and 
September 4, 1778. To Benjamin Tallmadge, September 24, 1779 ; and 
again February 5, 1780. These entries are specimens. References to the 
same subject in Washington's letters are far too numerous to quote. The 
receipts and expenditure on Secret Services are carefully entered in his 
accounts. During the eighteen months which followed the evacuation of 
Boston he disbursed under this head some fifteen hundred pounds. 

^ Washington to Governor Livingston ; Valley Forge, January 20, 


the world ; and that, if they perished in his service, he 
would see their memory righted. ^ 

Of such was John Honeyman ; a veteran who had 
been in Wolfe's body-guard at the battle of Quebec, 
but who had convinced himself that the interests of 
America were not, at the present juncture, served by 
Sir William Howe and Governor Tryon, and still less 
by Lieutenant General Von Heister and his Hessians. 
Honeyman, whose real sentiments were carefully con- 
cealed, passed among his country neighbours by the 
appellation of the Tory Traitor. He gained his liveli- 
hood as a butcher and cattle-dealer ; and during the 
^hird week of December he was constantly in and around 
Trenton, procuring beeves from the farmers, and bring- 
ing them into the town for slaughter. When he had 
seen and heard enough to form a judgement, he got 
himself captured by some American scouts, who strapped 
him to a horse, and carried him to the head-quarters of 
their army at Newtown. There the Commander-in-Chief 
examined him in private for the space of half an hour, 
and then ordered him to be imprisoned and brought 
before a court-martial on the morrow ; but, when morn- 
ing came, Honeyman had vanished. Eighteen months 

^ Lafayette gradually acquired a personal influence over the American 
soldiery only second to that of V^ashington. In September 1781 he per- 
suaded one Morgan, a private in a New Jersey regiment, to take his life 
in his hands, enter Yorktown in the character of a deserter, and learn 
what he could concerning the situation of the garrison. Morgan con- 
sented with great reluctance. " He told the general that he would go, on 
one condition ; which was that, in case any disaster should happen to him, 
the general should make the true state of the case known, and have the 
particulars published in the New Jersey gazettes, that no reproach might 
come upon his family and friends." 

Lafayette assented. Morgan did his errand, and returned safe, bring- 
ing over no fewer than seven real deserters with him. Lafayette offered 
him money and promotion ; but he refused both. He believed himself, 
(he said,) to be a good soldier. He might not make so good a sergeant ; 
and he preferred to remain where he would be the most useful to his 
country. Since, however, the general wished to oblige him, he had a 
favour to ask. While he was away, some one had taken his gun. He 
set great store by it, and v/ould be particularly pleased to have it once 
again. Nearly half a century afterwards Lafayette related the story as 
an anecdote in every respect characteristic of the Revolutionary soldier. 


afterwards some prominent Whigs arraigned him before 
the Magistrates as having aided and comforted the 
enemies of New Jersey in the evil days when that State 
was occupied by the invader ; but in the end Honeyman 
surmounted all his perils, and long out-lived his unpop- 
ularity. He died in the odour of patriotism, at the ripe 
age of ninety-three. 

That conversation on a winter night between Wash- 
ington and John Honeyman settled the fate of Colonel 
Rail and the brigade which he commanded.^ The 
faulty disposition of the Hessians inside Trenton, and 
the absence there of all due caution and preparation, 
were now intimately known to the American general; 
and he had informed himself quite sufficiently about the 
state of things prevailing in the district outside the con- 
fines of the village. It was his constant custom to send 
across the British lines a number of horsemen, habited 
like well-to-do rustic folk, and to keep them riding 
backwards and forwards through and through the 
country, making their mental notes leisurely and coolly, 
and with all but assured impunity.^ In this respect, 
from the nature of the case, Washington possessed a 
great advantage over the Royal generals. The spies 
accredited by Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton 
had unusual hazards and difficulties to encounter ; and, 
unless they shirked the business of their mission, their 
careers were for the most part very brief. Washing- 
ton's army contained regiments from all the States ; 
and within the precincts of his camp there was sure to 
be at least one native of any given county and town- 
ship in the Confederacy. If the Royal spy was of colo- 
nial origin, it was long odds that some rebel militiaman 
or another would recognise him for a fellow-townsman 
and a Loyalist ; and, if he was an Englishman, he had 
to undergo that searching catechism of personal inqui- 
ries which, then and long afterwards, in peace and war 

1 In Stryker's Trenton and Princeton a narrative is given of Honey- 
man's proceedings during December 1776. 

^ Washington to Major General Putnam ; January 5, 1777. 


alike, it was the pleasure of every true American to 
inflict upon a stranger for the gratification of his own 
curiosity. But Washington's corporals and sergeants, 
— who even in their uniforms looked much more like 
agriculturists than military men, — when got up as 
harmless civilians could make the round of British biv- 
ouacs without fear of meeting any one who knew their 
faces, their antecedents, or their political opinions ; and 
they were safer still in the company of Hessians, none 
of whom could so much as tell a Yankee from a Caro- 
linian. The Revolutionary emissaries wandered at 
ease through the cantonments of Grant, and Leslie, and 
Von Donop ; talking Toryism, peddling tobacco, and 
picking up valuable materials for observation at every 
turn. Their general was soon absolutely certified that, 
if he moved forward quietly and rapidly, he would have 
at least three clear and uninterrupted days within which 
to arrange the accounts of Colonel Rail and his regi- 
ments. General Grant had under his own hand at 
Brunswick considerably less than a thousand men ; 
round Princeton the troops were dispersed in winter 
quarters, and had given over the very idea of further 
movements until spring arrived; while in Burlington 
County the Royal soldiers were reported as " scattered 
through all the farmers' houses, — eight, ten, twelve, 
and fifteen in a house, — and rambling over the whole 
country." ^ 

Washington's opportunity had come; and not a 
moment too soon. He already had confessed to his 
brother that ''the game was pretty nearly up," owing to 
the defection of the middle colonies from the American 
cause, to the ruinous policy of short enlistments, and 
the too great dependence which had been placed on the 
militia.^ Every clause of that melancholy sentence 
was correct in all particulars. Governor Tryon exult- 
ingly wrote to Lord George Germaine that in the 

1 Colonel Reed to General Washington ; Bristol, December 22, 1776. 

2 Letter to John Augustine Washington ; Camp near the Falls of 
Trenton, December 18, 1776, 


colony of New York loyalty towards the Crown was no 
longer a passive or a timorous sentiment. One day he 
had mustered under the Royal standard eight hundred 
and twenty armed inhabitants of Queen's County ; and 
on another the oath of allegiance was administered to 
almost as many of the Suffolk Militia. Not a murmur 
of discontent could be heard throughout the whole 
crowd which witnessed that imposing ceremony. Gen- 
eral George Clinton, on the other hand, who governed, 
in the interest of the Revolution, as much of the prov- 
ince of New York as Howe had not reconquered, 
informed the State Convention that his men had gone 
away, and still were going, without leave and in great 
numbers. He doubted, (he said,) whether he had 
strength enough to bring them back even though he 
should leave his lines undefended, and employ his whole 
remaining force to hunt up and recover the defaulters.^ 
It is certain that the entire, and the almost immediate, 
dissolution of the Provincial forces was serenely antici- 
pated at the British head-quarters in New York city. 
Washington himself fully believed that his adversary was 
only waiting till the ice bore, and the Continental troops 
had melted away, in order to draw his brigades once 
more together, and advance upon Philadelphia.^ That 
fear was not chimerical ; for by the end of the first fort- 
night in January the Delaware was frozen so hard that, 
if Sir William Howe had still been in fighting mood, 
(which, for good reasons, he no longer was,) he might 

^ General Clinton to the President of the Convention of New York ; 
December 28, 1776. 

" Our people here are many of them in the utmost distress about their 
families, and other affairs at home, at this severe season. Their com- 
plaints are most desperate, and I am afraid many women and children, 
together with their cattle, will suffer, if not perish, and am sorry to Inform 
you that, In spite of all our Efforts, I am convinc'd the Melitia will go 
home Bodily, Before three Days, the consequence of which is obvious to 
Every man of the least desernment." Colonel Allison to General George 
Qinton ; Tappan, December 27, 1776. The news of Trenton had not, by 
then, penetrated to the Hudson river. 

2 General Washington to Colonel Reed j December 23, 1776. 


have marched his infantry across the river in extended 
order of battle. 

One hope remained to comfort the mind, and stimu- 
late the faculties, of the American commander. A 
single brilliant and indisputable success, all the more 
surely in proportion as it was unexpected, would reani- 
mate the spirit of the nation, decide waverers, recall 
absentees to arms, and set the embers of the Revolution 
once more in a blaze. As early as the fourteenth of 
December Washington, in no less than three letters, 
expressed that conviction, and declared his intention to 
act upon it.^ The announcement, however, was made 
in general terms; and he thenceforward kept his own 
counsel. From the time when specific information 
about the distribution of his enemy's forces began to 
reach him, and his own scheme of action took definite 
shape, all further allusion to the subject disappeared 
even from his most famihar correspondence. At last, 
on the twenty-third of December, when his views were 
clear and his plans thought out, he wrote thus to the 
Adjutant General of the army. *' Christmas-day at 
night, one hour before day, is the time fixed for our 
attempt on Trenton. For Heaven's sake keep this to 
yourself ; as the discovery of it may prove fatal to us, 
— our numbers, sorry am I to say, being less than I 
had any conception of. But necessity, dire necessity, 
will, nay must, justify an attempt." 

On Christmas Eve, General Greene requested the 
family with whom he lodged to leave their house in his 
charge for the night. When the coast was clear, Wash- 

1 One of these letters was addressed to General Heath, and another to 
General Gates. In the third, Washington wrote to Governor Trumbull 
of Connecticut about the troops whom Schuyler had sent down from 
Albany and Ticonderoga. "By coming on they may in conjunction 
with my present force, and that under General Lee, enable us to attempt 
a stroke upon the forces of the enemy, who lie a good deal scattered, and 
to all appearance in a state of security. A lucky blow in this quarter 
would be fatal to them, and would most certainly rouse the spirits of the 
people, which are quite sunk by our late misfortunes." 



ington and his principal officers came in to supper ; and, 
before they left the table, all their preparations were 
complete. Colonel Cadwalader, — himself a Philadel- 
phian, — was to take the Philadelphian Associators, and 
a brigade of New Englanders, across the Delaware in 
the neighbourhood of Bristol, and beat up Von Donop's 
cantonments at Bordentown.^ General Ewing, with 
something under a thousand militiamen, was bidden to 
pass the river at Trenton Ferry, and station his troops 
on the southern bank of the Assunpink Creek. Wash- 
ington himself, meanwhile, purposed to traverse the 
stream at a higher point, and advance against Colonel 
Rail's position from the northwest quarter. His 
force consisted of twenty-four hundred Continental 
veterans under Greene and Sullivan, and no fewer than 
eighteen cannon. So large a mass of artillery was a 
grievous incumbrance on this night march, undertaken 
with intent to surprise an enemy covered by a nearly 
impassable current; but the future showed that the 
arrangement had been dictated by just foresight. Each 
of the seven brigades was to be furnished with two 
good guides. Every officer in the column was to set 
his watch by Washington's, and to fasten a piece of white 
paper conspicuously in his hat. Every man carried 
cooked provisions for three days ; a blanket to cover him 
if ever he found leisure to lie down ; a new flint screwed 
into the hammer of his piece, and forty rounds of am- 
munition which, whatever might be the case later on, 
were at all events to be dry when the expedition started. 
An express rider was despatched to summon Doctor 

^ This was a brother of that Colonel Cadwalader who was taken at Fort 
Washington, and who was released by Sir William Howe in return for 
civilities shown by the Colonel's father to General Prescott when a 
prisoner in Philadelphia. Washington, in terms of unwonted vivacity, 
expressed an apprehension lest the Continental officers might "kick up 
some dust " at being placed under the command of a brigadier from the 
militia. He accordingly desired General Horatio Gates to lead the force 
which was destined to attack Von Donop ; but Gates pleaded illness, and 
went off to Baltimore, where he put himself in touch with the less 
respectable Members of Congress, and laid the foundation of an intrigue 
directed against the leadership of Washington. 


Shippen and his assistants from the hospital at Bethle« 
hem, with orders to accompany the march, and be close 
at hand when the firing began. The pass-word for the 
ensuing evening was " Victory or Death " ; and there 
was hardly a soldier in the ranks who did not understand 
why that phrase had been chosen. 

The weather was frightful. Intense cold set in on 
the twentieth of December ; and the Delaware, from 
bank to bank, swam thick with frozen blocks, which 
were already piled into a mass lower down the river 
where the stream was affected by the tides. Ewing 
found himself unable to cross at Trenton Ferry. Cad- 
walader tried first above Bristol, and then below ; but 
he encountered a solid field of ice, three hundred feet 
in breadth, between the open water and the Jersey 
shore ; and though, by dint of great exertions, he at 
length landed a part of his infantry, they came too late, 
and the event was decided without him. Washington's 
own difficulties were somewhat less, and he had more 
perfect appliances wherewith to surmount them ; but 
the task which awaited him was rude enough. At two 
in the afternoon on Christmas day his little battalions 
stepped off from their quarters ; and before sunset the 
whole force was assembled on the shore in front of 
McKenky's Ferry. Those who were behind time could 
easily trace the route which their comrades had fol- 
lowed ; " for the snow was tinged here and there with 
blood from the feet of the men who wore broken shoes." 
It had confidently been hoped that the troops would 
have been transported across the river by midnight, so 
that they might have the rest of the darkness for their 
march to Trenton, and be in a position for commencing 
an attack with the earliest gleam of dawn. But the 
Delaware ran high and strong ; the cold was sharp to 
the point of torture ; and about eleven o'clock a bewil- 
dering tempest of sleet and hail was hurled athwart the 
channel on a fierce, bitter wind. Huge jagged cakes 
of ice, troublesome from the first, were a more dan- 
gerous obstacle at each successive crossing. During 

H 2 


nine mortal hours the Marblehead fishermen con- 
tended with the gale and the flood. Captain Blunt of 
Portsmouth saw the boat-loads off, timed the journeys 
to and fro, and instructed the steersmen as to the 
allowance which should be made for the force of the 
current. Colonel Knox shouted directions to the troops 
in stentorian accents, which were heard through the 
roaring of the storm, and never left his station on the 
Pennsylvanian bank until he had assured himself that 
not an ammunition cart or an artillery horse remained 
on the wrong side of the river. Even at that unnatural 
hour, and in those inclement surroundings, the Ameri- 
cans found a hearty welcome on the Jersey shore. The 
township of Hopewell, in that province, was one of the 
two districts which had suffered most cruelly from the 
devastations of the Hessians. A hint had got abroad 
that Washington was expected ; and all the able-bodied 
men turned out from their ransacked homes to meet 
him. They hauled up the great Durham boats through 
the shallow water ; they helped to coax the horses, and 
turn the spokes of the cannon-wheels, down extem- 
porised bridges which gave access from the vessels to 
the shore ; and every one of them either accompanied 
or preceded the army to the field of action. Some 
were guides. Others went on ahead, secure from sus- 
picion in their farming clothes, to spy out, and report 
upon, the amount of vigilance displayed by the out- 
lying Hessian pickets. One, an old miller, — whom the 
Germans had imprisoned, but who escaped, costumed 
as a woodsman with an axe on his shoulder, after 
having been under the same roof as Colonel Rail, — 
brought to Washington the very latest news from the 
interior of Trenton. 

As the storm increased, — > and as the night, with its 
priceless advantages for an assailant, slipped away, — 
the American commander sate, tranquil and silent, amid 
an anxious and despondent group of generals. It was 
not till four o'clock on the Thursday morning that the 
army was formed up for the march upon Trenton. 


The scene was cheerless, more especially for the 
younger privates, who were already very near the end 
of the small stock of vital energy which a long cam- 
paign had left them. Dead-beat and footsore, they 
slipped and stumbled amid the frozen slush, drenched 
through and through by the merciless hail. Their 
officers walked among them, teaching them, by precept 
and example,^ to cover the locks of their muskets in 
their blankets, or beneath their coat-skirts ; reminding 
them of worse times ; and promising them a fair and 
speedy chance to retrieve their past defeats. Half-way 
to Trenton a halt was called, and the soldiers took a 
hasty meal, while Washington breakfasted in the saddle. 
When the order was given to re-form the ranks, many 
were already asleep at the road side, and could with 
difficulty be got once more upon their feet. The two 
divisions pursued separate routes. Sullivan led three 
brigades along the lower road, nearest to the river; 
and Greene, with four brigades, came by the Penning- 
ton highway. A detachment of artillerymen went with 
the advanced parties, carrying spikes and hammers to 
disable, and drag-ropes to secure, the enemy's cannon. 
On both roads four field-pieces travelled in front of the 
infantry, and the others followed at intervals, well 
forward in the line of march. Colonel Knox had 
brought all his guns for use, even at the risk of losing 
some few of them by capture. Washington rode along 
on his chestnut-sorrel charger, sunk in thought, but 
from time to time calling to his men, '' Press on ; press 
on, boys." The first signs of daylight now began to 
appear; and all hope of surprising the Hessians in 
their beds was perforce abandoned.^ The boldest felt 
that they had better make the most of that sunrise, as 
they might never see another. No one was sanguine 

1 The American regimental officers carried fusees; and some, who 
knew that they could use a rifle with advantage, had provided themselves 
with that weapon. 

2 Stryker's Tren/on and Princeton. His account of the passage over 
the Delaware, and of the night march, is excellent throughout. 


enough to anticipate, what was indeed the case, that 
the hardest, and even the most perilous, section of their 
enterprise had already been accomplished. 

The preliminary arrangements for the expedition, 
though made with all possible secrecy and circum- 
spection, had been elaborate and comprehensive. They 
embraced a large extent of country, and inevitably 
challenged the observation of hostile eyes. Colonel 
Rail had not been at the pains to send spies into the 
American lines ; but two deserters from the Conti- 
nental army informed him that the Philadelphian mili- 
tia were assembling, and that Washington's soldiers 
were employed in cooking enough rations for several 
days. A Tory farmer from Pennsylvania brought word 
that Trenton would certainly be attacked at an early 
moment ; and on the twenty-fourth of December 
General Grant wrote from Brunswick that he had 
** got into a good line of intelligence," and had learned 
enough to assure himself that the Hessians ought at 
once to put themselves on their guard. German 
officers, who had very good reasons for avoiding the 
possible contingency of having the packages and 
bundles in their private waggons overhauled by an 
American victor, suggested to Colonel Rail that the 
baggage might be transferred to a place of safety ; but 
he replied that whoever could capture him, and his 
brigade, might take the baggage as well. If the rebels, 
(he said,) came across the Delaware, the best they could 
hope for was a good retreat. And so the Germans 
set themselves down to enjoy their Christmas; with 
kindly thoughts, doubtless, of those whom they had 
left behind them in Franconia and Westphalia; but 
with no pity or compunction for the cold hearths, and 
bare larders, of many a New Jersey family.^ About 
seven in the evening on Christmas day a noise of firing 

^ A great deal has been written about the drunken revels of the 
Hessians; but all the evidence goes to show that they were badly off for 
liquor that Christmas. The officers were distressed about the price of 
Madeira, which was three and sixpence a bottle. Rail exerted himself 


suddenly broke out on the north of the town, and all 
the three regiments were mustered for battle. It was 
little more than a false alarm. An American scouting 
party had surprised the outposts, and had wounded 
half a dozen Hessians without any loss to themselves. 
Rail came to the conclusion that this was the aggres- 
sive movement with reference to which General Grant 
had cautioned him. The troops were dismissed, and 
returned to their merry-making; and he himself re- 
paired as guest to a jovial supper, where he stopped 
over his cards and wine until the late winter morning 
had nearly come. In the course of that night, a Loyal- 
ist from across the river knocked at the door of the 
house where the festival was in progress, and asked to 
see the Colonel. Refused admittance, he wrote a few 
lines, and gave injunctions that they should at once be 
delivered to Rail, who slipped the note into his pocket 
unread. Not many hours afterwards when, as a dying 
man, he had been undressed for the last time, this 
scrap of paper was found in his clothes ; and he 
learned the nature of the neglected warning with resig- 
nation and contrition. 

On the evening of Christmas day, when the alarm 
had subsided, but before the brigade was dispersed to 
quarters. Major von Dechow earnestly adjured his 
commanding officer to send out strong patrols along all 
the roads, and as far as the ferries ; but Rail answered 
that morning would be time enough. A half troop of 
English Light Dragoons had been attached to his com- 
mand, and some of them were usually employed in 
reconnoitring the vicinity ; but on the twenty-sixth of 
December that precaution was omitted. Three infan- 
try privates only went off to scout ; and, after walking 
a short distance into the country, they returned long 
before daybreak with the report that nothing was stir- 
ring. One company of the Von Lossberg regiment 

to procure spruce-beer, or small beer, for his soldiers, but not very 
successfully ; and, at the best, those beverages were poor drink for the 
countrymen of King Gambrinus. 


was stationed on the Pennington road, a quarter of a 
mile outside Trenton ; and at nearly the same distance 
further on was the advance-post, which on this occasion 
was held by a score of the Von Knyphausens under 
Lieutenant Wiederhold. This young gentleman was a 
smart officer, especially when criticising his superiors 
after things had happened ; but at the place, and the 
moment, of all others, he himself was not sufficiently 
alive to the danger. Chancing to step out of the house 
at a quarter to eight in the morning, he saw a number 
of men coming through the edge of the woods about 
two hundred yards away. They were General Greene's 
skirmishers ; and the main column was close behind. 
The fight at once began, — fast, furious, and unceasing 
from the earliest minute to the last. Before the officers 
in charge of Rail's outposts had time to look about 
them, the Americans were thick in their front. Along 
both roads the tide of battle surged with extraordinary 
violence. The Hessian pickets on the Pennington high- 
way were rolled up, and driven back into the town, a 
great deal the worse for the collision. Sullivan, in the 
quarter towards the river, without losing a man of his 
own, beat in a picket of fifty chasseurs. Hunters and 
gamekeepers from the German forests, they passed in 
Europe for dead shots at stags and poachers ; but they 
aimed badly when their target was a backwoodsman 
with the butt of a rifle at his shoulder. The tactical 
movements, on which success or failure depended, 
were conducted with rare precision and marvellous celer- 
ity. Even if grass could have grown in such weather, 
there would have been no great crop of it that day be- 
neath the feet of Washington's people. Greene's two 
leading brigades filed steadily and swiftly past the north- 
ern entrance of Trenton, and formed up in a continuous 
line extending from the Princeton highway to the Assun- 
pink Creek. His third brigade, which General Mercer 
commanded, turned off the road by which they had 
hitherto travelled, got into touch with Sullivan, and 
assailed the western skirts of the village; while Lord 


Stirling, who hitherto had marched at the tail of the 
column, drew up his slender, but well-tried, battalions 
of Southern infantry opposite the junction of the two 
principal streets, on the very spot which Von Donop 
had marked out as a site for the redoubt that never had 
been erected. 

The net had been drawn, almost without an inter- 
stice, around the devoted village before the garrison 
was arrayed for battle. Their brigade adjutant looked 
into Rail's chamber at six o'clock, and again at seven ; 
but on both occasions he found its occupant sleeping 
heavily. When the rattle of small arms arose outside 
the town, he a third time knocked loudly at the front 
door ; and the colonel, roused at last, flung on his uni- 
form, and was instantaneously in the street. Fiery sol- 
dier that he always was, nothing except the prospect of 
a fight would have drawn him out of his bed without a 
grumble. He at once set his troops in such order as 
was permitted by the hurry, and by the fatal disadvan- 
tage of the restricted locality within which he was now 
reduced to manoeuvre. His own regiment fell in some 
distance down King Street, which was the western of 
the two thoroughfares ; and the Von Lossbergs mustered 
in Church Alley, at the back of the poplar trees, with 
orders to clear Queen Street of the rebels. Von Dechow 
drew up his battalion to the rearward, at a right angle 
with the rest of the brigade, and faced Sullivan in the 
southern quarter of the town. But the streets of Tren- 
ton, with round-shot already bounding along the cause- 
ways, were ill suited for an assembling-ground. Colonel 
Knox had placed his guns in line as fast as they arrived 
at the cross-roads, and gave them the range himself; 
and the Americans had pushed forward so briskly that 
Alexander Hamilton, — who marched with the reserve, 
and was therefore the last to unlimber, — discharged 
shell with deadly effect into the leading company of 
the Von Lossberg regiment as it emerged from Church 
Alley. Of effective response on the other side there 
was none whatever. The Von Knyphausen cannon got 


among the Von Lossberg ranks ; while the Von Loss- 
berg cannon remained throughout the affair with the 
Von Knyphausen battalion, and made a very poor his- 
tory. For all the damage that they wrought, the Ger- 
man field-pieces might have remained in the arsenal at 
Cassel ; since their fire was at once dominated by the 
American gunners, who aimed as scrupulously and 
coolly as if they were shooting at a mark to win a 
prize for their battery. By the time that the four Hes- 
sian cannon which pointed northwards had discharged 
twenty rounds between them, they had lost half their 
horses ; many of their artillerymen had been struck 
down ; and the remainder were running for their lives. 
Meanwhile the town was filling up rapidly with 
American marksmen, who were busy and efficient in a 
theatre of action which exactly suited their favourite 
mode of warfare. The streets were bordered by hand- 
some and commodious houses, standing in enclosed 
plots of ground, which in summer time were shaded by 
abundance of elm, and black-oak, and hickory.^ The 
fences, dividing one property from another, were lined 
more thickly every minute by skirmishers, who pelted 
with musketry the groups of Hessians, huddled up 
behind the tenements for shelter from the grape-shot 
which scoured the street. The riflemen, — a privileged 
class, who went their own way in battle, — ensconced 
themselves under cover from the rain in cellars ^ or in 
upper chambers ; wiped their priming-pans dry ; and 
took deliberate shots at every German uniform which 
showed itself round a corner. Mercer's troops, who 
had penetrated within the confines of Trenton from the 

1 A traveller, who visited Trenton more than a quarter of a century 
before the battle, described the houses as comfortably built of stone below, 
with an upper-floor of wood ; standing flush to the street, but apart from 
each other, and with larger or smaller gardens to the rear of them. 
Travels in North America^ by Professor Peter Kalm, in Volume XII. of 
Pinkerton's Collection. Professor Kalm may fairly be called the Swedish 
Arthur Young. 

■■^Professor Kalm especially noticed the cellars at Trenton, which 
apparently were a feature of the place. 


west, fired sharply, and close at hand, into the flank 
of the Hessians through the pales of a large tan-yard. 
After no long while Stirling gave the word, and 
launched his infantry, at a run, down both roads towards 
the centre of the village. If the German officers had 
so poor an opinion of generals and colonels who were 
tradesmen and mechanics, this was the time to prove 
it; for Knox was a Boston bookseller; Stirling had 
kept a shop ; and Nathanael Greene, when it came to 
forging an anchor, could hold his own among any gang 
of hammermen in Rhode Island. The moment, how- 
ever, was one when social distinctions are apt to be in 
abeyance. William Washington's Virginians charged 
for the guns in King Street. Their stalwart captain 
was shot through both his hands, and Lieutenant 
Monroe had an artery cut by a ball. If surgical aid 
had not been promptly forthcoming, he might have 
died then and there ; and his doctrine, which in any 
case could hardly fail to have been invented, would 
have borne some different title. But the guns were 
taken. Rail's own regiment fired two volleys, and then 
broke and fell back, throwing the left wing of the 
Von Lossbergs into great confusion. A mighty clamour 
came from their rear, where Sullivan's division was 
pushing the Von Knyphausens in hopeless rout across 
the southern districts of the town. Colonel Stark, 
who held the rail-fence at Bunker's Hill, commanded 
the leading regiment, — as active in attack as he had 
then been obstinate in defence. The names of his 
people recall the battles of the Old Testament ; and 
they were not behindhand with the Israelites in their 
zeal to smite an adversary. Fifteen or sixteen New 
Hampshire men from Derryfield kept constantly to the 
front, under Sergeant Ephraim Stevens, and Captain 
Ebenezer Frye ; a very corpulent officer who had 
retained his girth through all the hardship and star- 
vation of the Jersey retreat. They are said to have 
taken prisoners sixty Hessians, who afterwards pro- 
fessed to have been puzzled and misled as to the 


number of their captors by the headlong and desperate 
character of the onset. The streets were thick to suf- 
focation with the smoke of gunpowder. The sleet came 
down more dense and blinding than ever. The narrow 
spaces resounded with the roar of cannon and musket, 
with shrieks and exclamations, with vehement cheering, 
and a great deal of swearing in two languages. Words 
of command were thick in the air ; for among Wash- 
ington's troops there was an excited captain or sub- 
altern to every ten or twelve privates ; and some of 
the German officers exerted themselves bravely and 
strenuously, although they nowhere could induce their 
men to stand. Doors and windows on the ground-floor 
were beaten in ; and the dwellings were used as for- 
tresses by the American riflemen, or as asylums by 
Hessians who sought refuge and concealment beneath 
Tory roofs. Colonel Knox, with all else that he had to 
occupy his attention, found time to bestow a compassionate 
thought upon the residents of Trenton and their hapless 
families.^ The scene, terrible to civilian householders, 
was too much for the nerves of a good many professional 
soldiers. Several hundreds of the garrison fled across 
the bridge over the Assunpink Creek, which still was open, 
and made their way safe to Bordentown. The calamity 
which they left behind them was so overwhelming that 
their timely retreat, instead of being censured or punished, 
was accounted to them for righteousness.^ 

The Hessian Commander began to be aware that, 
unless he could extricate his brigade from the streets 
and by-lanes of the town, it would soon be destroyed 
piecemeal. He had at first been dazed and mystified 
by the suddenness and multiplicity of the American 

^ " The attack on Trenton was a most horrid scene to the poor 
inhabitants. War, my Lucy, is not a humane trade." General Knox to 
his wife ; January 2, 1777. 

^ " The number of men who succeeded in escaping plainly shows 
what the rest could have done if the officers remaining had done their 
duty, and not put aside the obligations they were under to me, to the honour 
of my troops, and to their own reputation." Letter of April 1777, from 
the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel to Lieutenant General von Knyphausen. 


attacks; but he now recovered his presence of mind, 
and saw his course plain before him. Having with- 
drawn the Rail and Von Lossberg regiments to the open 
ground east of the village, he ordered them to face 
about, and advance in extended line against what had 
now become the American position. Their ranks were 
re-formed; their colours were displayed conspicuously 
in the centre of each battalion ; and the band struck 
up a tune. The moment had arrived for trying the 
efficacy of that assault with the bayonet which was the 
gallant veteran's ideal of warfare. It was all in vain. 
His own regiment would not face the rifles. The 
Von Lossbergs, — who alone of the Hessians on that day 
did well, or even respectably, — lost several officers and 
thirty men, without anywhere getting into thrusting 
distance of an enemy. Rail fell from his horse with 
two frightful wounds ; and his troops abandoned the 
fray, and retired to an apple-orchard just beyond the 
Friends' Meeting House on the eastern edge of 
the village. The surviving field-officers recognised that 
all was over. Their men would not go forward ; and the 
means for standing successfully on the defensive were 
altogether wanting. Wet had spoiled the muskets ; and 
towards the close of the affair there were a great many 
more misfires than explosions. The braver soldiers 
were seen chipping away at their flints amid a shower 
of bullets, and then pulling their triggers again and 
again without effect. Artillery, in those days, was the 
proper weapon for bad weather; but the German 
cannon had all been captured or disabled. Washington, 
on the other hand, had provided himself with field- 
pieces in double the ordinary proportion to the num- 
bers of his infantry ; and he had committed them to 
the charge of an officer who utilised them to the very 
utmost. Colonel Knox, who had thriven in business by 
industry and assiduity, laid claim to no other qualities 
in his capacity of an artilleryman ; ^ and he took good 

^ " Will it give you satisfaction or pleasure in being informed that the 
Congress have created me a general officer, with the entire command 


care at Trenton that no man in his command should be 
idle, and no gun-muzzle silent, as long as any profitable 
work remained to be executed. 

Knox hurried up his batteries from the point where 
they had been stationed at the commencement of the 
action, and cannonaded the Hessians, who shielded 
themselves, as best they could, among the trees of the 
orchard. Greene had kept in reserve two entire bri- 
gades, posted on his extreme left, in express view of 
some such contingency as now occurred ; and they 
moved forward in serried ranks, with loaded arms, eager 
to take their part in the victory. The Germans saw 
themselves threatened by a semicircle of field-guns ; 
while a thousand fresh and untouched troops of the 
Continental line were bearing down upon them within a 
distance of sixty paces. The American infantry forbore 
from shooting, and the artillery-fire ceased ; for both 
parties knew that the fight was ended, and neither of 
them desired that the butchery should begin. The 
Hessian standards were lowered ; the muskets were 
grounded ; " and the officers placed their hats on the 
points of their swords, and held them up in token of 
submission." ^ Some few hundred yards away to the 
southward the Von Knyphausen regiment was helplessly 
recoiling from the conflict in quest of safety. Major 
von Dechow, mortally hurt, had fallen into American 
hands ; and his senior captain attempted to escape, 
with the remnant of his command, by the bridge over the 
Assunpink Creek. If the roads which led to the ferries 
had been properly patrolled by cavalry, the whole garri- 
son, forewarned in time, might have made good their 
retreat across that bridge long before Washington had 
arrived within several miles of the town. It was now 
too late ; for Sullivan, who never in his life made a finer 
figure than on that morning, had already secured the 

of the artillery ? If so, I shall be happy. People are more lavish in 
their praises of my poor endeavours than they deserve. All the merit 
I can claim is industry." General Knox to his wife ; January 2, 1777. 
1 Stryker's Trenton and Princeton, 

TRENTON 1 1 1 

pass with infantry and cannon. Two field-pieces, which 
the Von Knyphausens dragged along with them, sank in 
the mud, and were abandoned to the advancing enemy. 
The march of the column was obstructed by a train of 
waggons, piled up with plunder, which had been 
brought thus far, but no further, on the way to Ger- 
many ; and a throng of camp-followers, male and 
female, — shrieking, and rushing to and fro as the shot 
flew about them, — spread panic and disorder in the 
ranks. Under cover of the thick underbrush that 
fringed the stream some captains and lieutenants, with 
a few hardy privates, endeavoured to discover a passage 
through the creek ; sounding the bottom with their 
spontoons, and wading up to their necks in the ice-cold 
water. The stoutest fellows swam across to freedom ; 
but others were drowned ; and Sullivan's leading bri- 
gade, active in pursuit, was now almost within pistol-shot. 
The Germans were called upon to surrender at discre- 
tion ; and, after a protracted parley, they consented to 
obey. As the Hessian regiment threw down their fire- 
locks, ** the patriot troops tossed their hats in the air; 
a great shout resounded through the village, and the 
battle of Trenton was closed." ^ 

Rail's forces, when the affair commenced, had been 
sixteen hundred strong.^ Their killed and wounded 

^ Stryker's Trenton and Princeton. 

Colonel Knox gave his wife an excellent account of the affair in brief, 
interspersed with touches of affection not out of place even in such a 
story. " About half a mile from the town," he wrote, " was an advanced 
guard on each road, consisting of a captain's guard. These we forced, 
and entered the town with them pell-mell ; and here succeeded a scene 
of war of which I had often conceived, but never saw before. The hurry, 
fright, and confusion of the enemy was not unlike that which will be 
when the last trump shall sound. They endeavoured to form in the 
streets, the head of which we had previously the possession of with 
cannon and howitzers. These, in the twinkling of an eye, cleared the 
streets. The backs of the houses were resorted to for shelter. These 
proved ineffectual. The musketry soon dislodged them. Finally they 
were driven through the town into the open plains beyond." 

2 Each of the three line regiments contained on an average four hun- 
dred and eighty men and officers ; and there were, in addition, the Chas* 
seurs, the detachment of artillery, and some British dragoons. 


were above a hundred, of whom two-thirds belonged to 
the Von Lossberg regiment. The Americans captured 
six field-pieces ; a thousand fine muskets ; forty sound 
horses ; fifteen standards ; twelve brass-barrel drums, 
and all the clarionets and hautboys, together with forty 
hogsheads of rum. Among the prisoners were thirty 
regimental officers, ninety-two Sergeants, twenty-nine 
musicians, and seven hundred and forty privates ; as 
well as a Provost Marshal, whose office must of late 
have been a sinecure, for the buildings occupied by the 
Germans contained a large assortment of miscellaneous 
property which had not been honestly come by. Wash- 
ington gave directions that the casks of rum should at 
once be staved in, and the liquor emptied on the ground ; 
and he invited the inhabitants of New Jersey to reclaim 
any goods of which they had been despoiled. Those 
farmers from Hopewell Township, who had come to his 
assistance empty-handed, might now carry back with 
them their fireplaces and kitchen-furniture to help their 
wives and children through what remained of the sav- 
age winter. The Hessians, in their hour of humiliation, 
made a resplendent show. Their regimental flags were 
of white silk, worked in gold with haughty devices to 
which the occasion lent an ironical meaning.^ The 
soldiers were described by an eye-witness as hearty- 
looking and well-clad, with large knapsacks, and spat- 
terdashes on their legs. The Rail battalion in dark 
blue, the Von Lossbergs in scarlet, the Von Knyp- 
hausens in neat and seemly black, and the artillerymen 
in blue coats with crimson lapels and white borders, 
were all in singular contrast to the dingy threadbare 
summer clothing, and naked feet, of their captors. 

1 The Von Lossberg banner bore the words " Pro Principe et PatriS ; " 
and some Americans knew enough Latin to wonder what were the patri- 
otic interests which had brought Hessians to fight on the Delaware. 
Another regiment, which had shown no appetite for battle, displayed a 
Lion rampant, surmounted by the motto *' Nescit Pericula." The cap- 
tured standards are reported as fifteen in General von Heister's oflficial 
despatch to the Prince of Hesse. The general probably included the 
guidons of companies as well as the regimental flags. 


Washington gathered up his prizes ; collected his 
troops; and issued orders to start forthwith upon the 
homeward journey. Before his departure, accompanied 
by General Greene, he waited upon Colonel Rail ; took 
his parole of honour, which was a sad and very super- 
fluous ceremony ; spoke to him kindly and most respect- 
fully ; and assured him, in reply to his anxious request, 
that the prisoners should be humanely and considerately 
treated. Rail did not survive the morrow ; and Von 
Dechow died within a few hours of his chief. Wash- 
ington's troops reached the ferry, where they had left 
their vessels, in time to commence the return passage 
over the Delaware before nightfall. The weather had 
not mended. A boatful of German officers came very 
near being swamped in the freezing current ; and tradi- 
tion relates that three Americans died outright of cold. 
The victors arrived at their respective quarters dropping 
with sleep, ^ having marched and fought continuously for 
six-and-thirty, forty, and in some cases for fifty, hours. 
That was a long and a severe ordeal ; and yet it may 
be doubted whether so small a number of men ever 
employed so short a space of time with greater and 
more lasting results upon the history of the world. 
One circumstance in the affair was strange almost to 

1 The good people of the house, in which a young New England cap- 
tain lodged, had prepared for him a large dish of hasty pudding ; but he 
fell asleep over his supper, and awoke next morning with the spoon still in 
his hand. 

David How was at Trenton ; and his journal represents that famous 
passage of arms under its most elementary aspects. 

" Dec. 24. We have ben Drawing Cateridges And provisions in order 
for a Scout. 

"25. This Day at 12 a Clock we Marched Down the River about 12 
miles. In the Night we Crossed the River Dullerway With a large Body 
of men And Field Pieces. 

" 26. This morning at 4 a Clock we set off with our Field pieces and 
Marched 8 miles to Trenton whare we ware Atacked by a Number of Hush- 
ing and we Toock /ooo of them besides killed Some. Then we marched 
back and got to the River at Night and got over all the Hushing. 

" 27. This morning we Crossed the River and come to our Camp at 

" 28. This Day we have ben washing Our things," 



a miracle. The incidents at Trenton have been described 
by German military writers in narratives marked exter- 
nally by the same professional minuteness and fidelity 
which characterise the Official Accounts of recent wars 
issued, in our own generation, by the Staff Department 
at Berlin. These narratives solemnly and specifically 
report how in the battle of Trenton this regiment de- 
ployed, and advanced firing ; and how that regiment 
retired to take up a less exposed position ; and how one 
captain or another, at such a minute in such an hour, 
rallied his company, and brought it once more into 
action, at the corner of a certain street. And in the 
end we learn that, as the net result of all those pro- 
longed and complicated operations, not a single Ameri- 
can was killed in the course of the whole engagement. 
Two privates were wounded, and two officers ; of whom 
the more severely hurt was alive, and in the White 
House, forty-eight years afterwards. The watchword 
" Victory or Death " proved to be, for Washington's 
followers, a literal, an exact, and, (in the ultimate event,) 
a most cheerful and satisfactory alternative. Excuses 
were put forward by some among the vanquished who 
were not wise enough to leave ill alone. They talked 
of the Germans as out-numbered ; and undoubtedly 
Washington had eight hundred more men than Rail; 
but, as long as the adversaries were still at grips, and 
while the possession of Trenton was being disputed 
within the confines of Trenton itself, the town contained 
at least as many Hessians as Americans. The rain, (it 
was further alleged,) fell so heavily that the German 
muskets would not go off. It cannot, however, be for- 
gotten that Washington's men, and their firelocks like- 
wise, had for nine consecutive hours been exposed to a 
constant downpour without any protection whatsoever ; 
while Rail's troops came forth to battle from weather- 
tight quarters, as warm as rooms are kept by soldiers 
when they are burning fuel which belongs to other 

The explanation, of what otherwise is inexplicable, 


rests not on military or material, but on moral, grounds. 
Washington, in a General Order of congratulation ad- 
dressed to his soldiers, observed that he had previously 
been in many actions, but always had perceived some 
misbehaviour in some individuals. At Trenton, how- 
ever, he had seen none. Too much praise, (a contem- 
porary remarked,) could not be given to the Continental 
troops. " His Excellency was pleased at their un- 
daunted courage. Not a soul was found skulking ; but 
all were fierce for battle." ^ Americans were fierce for 
battle, because they understood what the battle was 
about; but in the opposite ranks there was a great lack 
of knowledge, and very little ardour. The Germans 
who made such a poor affair of street-fighting in Tren- 
ton were not born less brave than those countrymen of 
theirs who attacked the villages in front of Lutzen in 
18 1 3, and who in 181 5 defended Ligny and St. Amand 
with the extreme of heroism. But Blucher's infantry 
were contending for their fatherland ; whereas the dull- 
est fusilier in Rail's regiments, beneath all the pipe-clay 
of his cross-belts, felt an uneasy consciousness that he 
was enlisted on what, likely enough, was the wrong side 
of a dispute that did not in any way concern himself or 
his nation. The Hessian ofBcers never attempted to 
justify their presence under arms in New Jersey by any 
public or patriotic motive. They admitted quite frankly, 
in the hearing of Lord Stirling, that they had not con- 
ceived it their duty to inquire which of the two parties 
in the American controversy was right. By far the 
most ably reasoned defence of German interference in 
the war between Britain and her colonies is given in a 
letter of the Freiherr von Gemmingen, a Minister to the 
Margrave of Anspach. '' The Margrave," this states- 
man wrote, " is determined to set his affairs in order, 
and to pay all his own debts, and those of his prede- 
cessors ; so the good that may come out of such a treaty 
of subsidy will far outweigh the hatefulness of the busi- 
ness. . . . The matter will naturally be looked on in 

1 American Archives for December 1776. 



the most unfavourable light by people who do not un< 
derstand an affair of State as a whole. But as soon 
as such people see foreign money flowing into our poor 
country, — as soon as they see us paying its debts with 
the means that come pouring in, — they will acknow- 
ledge that the troops, whose business is to fight the 
enemies of the state, have conquered our worst enemy, 
namely our debts. Even the lowest soldier shipped to 
America will come back with his savings, and be proud 
to have worked for his country and for his own advan- 
tage." ^ In plain words, Anspachers, and Waldeckers, 
and Hessians crossed the Atlantic in order to fill the 
empty treasuries of their rulers, and to draw increased 
pay and allowances for themselves ; and the calamities 
which there befell them were accepted by public-minded 
and self-respecting men, all the world over, with feel- 
ings ranging between lively satisfaction and contemptu- 
ous indifference. 

In England the Hessians met with the same sort of 
sympathy as a crowd in a market-place, where a fair 
stand-up fight is going on, would accord to a stranger 
who took five shillings to trip up one of the combatants, 
and got knocked down for his pains. Our bluff coun- 
trymen in those days had a strong prejudice against 
foreigners, more especially foreigners who lived on 
English money ; and they loved George the Third's 
German mercenaries as little as their grandfathers had 
liked and revered George the First's German mistresses. 
On the continent of Europe, — outside the precincts of 
those petty Courts which had habitually and tradition- 
ally made a profit by selling their subjects to the War 
Offices of neighbouring powers,^ — national opinion had 
been deeply and sincerely outraged by the revival of 
that hateful traffic, on a vast scale, for the prosecution 

1 This letter is quoted in the second chapter of Mr. Lowell's Hessians. 

2 In 1782 a pamphlet, attributed to a Minister of the Landgrave of 
Hesse, was published in French and German. The writer there stated, 
by way of defence for his royal patron, that the letting-out of Hessians for 
foreign service, so far from being an innovation, was the tenth occasion 
of the kind since the beginning of the century. 


of a policy alien to every legitimate European interest. 
The poet Schiller, before the war closed, gave forcible 
expression to the shame and indignation which filled 
every true German heart ; and the drama in which he 
denounced and satirised royal dealers in human life, — 
with such point and vigour that friends to whom he 
showed the piece had not dared confess to having read 
it in private, — when brought openly upon the stage was 
acted amid a tumult of applause. 

Some dim perception of the disgust and humiliation, 
which were inspired in all honest men by the cruel and 
ignoble system, gradually filtered down to the unfor- 
tunate creatures who were the victims of it; and the 
news from Trenton, as may well be imagined, made the 
trade of crimping none the easier. In March 1777 two 
regiments from Anspach and Bayreuth were put into 
boats at Ochsenf urth, — a little walled town which then 
belonged to the Bishop of Wurtzburg, — for water- 
carriage down the Main and the Rhine to a port of 
embarkation in Holland. This flock of country lads, 
(we are informed,) were shivering with cold, and sick- 
ened by the smell of the closely packed barges which, 
in their simplicity, they thought were to carry them, 
without change of ship, across the ocean to America. 
They broke out into mutiny, " a poor helpless mutiny, 
without a plan, without a leader. At daybreak some of 
the soldiers of the Anspach regiment, whose boat was 
near the bank, laid a plank to the shore, and walked 
over it. They then dragged other boats to land ; and 
in an hour the miserable crowd of cold and hungry men 
was on shore, storming with anger, and refusing to yield 
to the threats and promises of its officers." ^ Some 
chasseurs were ordered to fire upon the deserters from 
the surrounding hills ; and on this occasion they shot 
more accurately than when they confronted a skirmish- 
line of American riflemen. The Bishop of Wiirtzburg 
sent hussars and dragoons to quell the riot, and was 
subsequently thanked by Lord North's government for 
'^\uO'^€\\'% Hessians ; chapter v. Stephan Popp'sybMi^/^rt;// 1 777-1 783. 


his friendly and spirited conduct. The Margrave of 
Anspach himself, who had been fetched in hot haste, 
accompanied the flotilla down the rivers, and never lost 
sight of the goods which he had undertaken to deliver 
until they were duly consigned on board the British 
transports. Then, with conscience clear and pocket 
well lined, he started gaily on a trip to Paris, having 
already arranged for sending another batch of recruits 
down stream in the course of that autumn. He had 
written to his uncle, — who was no less than Frederic 
the Great, — asking that these troops might be permit- 
ted to pass through a corner of the Prussian dominions ; 
but he esteemed the request a mere formality, and trav- 
elled off to France without waiting for an answer. 
Frederic was not a bishop ; and, in language which was 
to his credit both as a soldier and a German ruler, he 
returned his nephew a flat refusal.^ The princes whose 
capitals lay to the south of Magdeburg and Berlin were 
thenceforward reduced to despatch their contingents by 
a circuitous route, which traversed several independent 
States, and the territories of some free cities. The com- 
mander of the Anhalt Zerbst regiment, in particular, 
found it almost impossible to bring his recruits along. 
Local sympathy was everywhere excited, and actively 
exerted, on behalf of the youths who filed through town 
and village in a weary woebegone procession ; and, be- 
fore the seacoast came in view, three out of every eight 
had made good their escape from servitude. 

The victory at Trenton was hailed with joy and 
triumph by the great majority of Americans, who had 
been profoundly incensed against the foreign soldiers of 
the Crown. They reproached them, (wrote a British 

1 ** Monsieur my Nephew ! 

" I own to your Most Serene Highness that I never think of the present 
war in America without being struck by the eagerness of some German 
princes to sacrifice their troops in a quarrel which does not concern them. 
My astonishment increases when I remember in ancient history the wise 
and general aversion of our ancestors to wasting German blood for the 
defence of foreign rights, which even became a law in the German state." 

So the letter began j and the rest was of a piece. 


historian,) with the highest degree of moral turpitude 
for quitting their homes in the Old World to butcher a 
people in the New World from whom they never had 
received the smallest injury ; but who, on the contrary, 
had for a century past afforded an asylum to their 
harassed and oppressed countrymen, when they fled 
across the seas in multitudes to enjoy the blessings of a 
liberty most generously held out to them.^ When it 
became known that Great Britain was hiring Hessians 
and Brunswickers to suppress freedom in her colonies, 
the Americans loudly condemned what they regarded 
as German ingratitude ; and their anger had since then 
been exacerbated by the plunder and devastation of 
New Jersey. Washington's soldiers, on the western 
bank of the Delaware, had waited in a state of white 
rage for an opportunity to get at the throats of those 
who had perpetrated the outrages ; but, when the fight 
ended, and the delinquents were at their mercy, their 
wrath cooled down, and their good nature reasserted 
itself in all its plenitude. Their commander set the 
example of generosity. Going even beyond the promise 
which he had given to his dying foe, Washington ordered 
that the portmanteaus of the Hessian officers, and the 
knapsacks of the soldiers, should be made over to them 
unsearched and unopened. As soon as a dinner could 
be cooked, he entertained the colonels and majors at his 
quarters ; while captains and lieutenants were turned 
over to the care of Lord Stirling. Retaining a pleasant 
recollection of General von Heister's courtesy when he 
himself had been a prisoner after the battle of Long 
Island, Stirling surpassed his own reputation as a 
bountiful host, and promptly repressed a sour-visaged 
Lutheran pastor from Hanover who thought fit to 
harangue the company, in their own tongue, about the 

^ "History of Europe" in the Annual Register for 1777; chapter i. 
That argument went strongly home to the Pennsylvanian emigrants of 
German descent ; upon whom the Revolution, as the earliest of its boons, 
had conferred the enjoyment of full political freedom ; and who were, 
almost to a man, devoted adherents of the popular party. 


iniquities of George the Third, and the justice of the 
American case as put forward in the Declaration of 
Independence.^ After having given their parole, the 
Hessian officers were conveyed to Philadelphia in com- 
fortable equipages, were driven to the sign of The 
Indian Queen, and there set down to " a grand supper, 
with plenty of punch and wine, at the expense of Con- 
gress." These official attentions were liberally supple- 
mented by private hospitality in the cities which they 
successively visited. They respectfully admired the 
beauty, the elegance, and the joyous unembarrassed 
bearing of Virginian ladies ; and some of them noted 
with satisfaction that their own musical accomplish- 
ments, which were not rated highly in Germany, pro- 
cured them much social consideration in America.^ 

The rank and file of Rail's brigade acquired the good 
will of the captors by their docility, their mild and even 
tempers, and their freedom from political bitterness, — 
a virtue which was based on the solid foundation of 
absolute and entire political ignorance. They had been 
poor soldiers at Trenton ; but they made most excellent 
prisoners. When they were passed southwards across 
the Pennsylvanian border, a difficulty occurred about 
the provision of an escort ; and the officer in command 
trusted the Hessians to find their own way up the 
Shenandoah valley by themselves. Three stages on- 
wards, and at the appointed hour, each one answered to 

i"I had the honour," (so Stirling told Governor Livingston,) "to 
make two regiments of them surrender prisoners of war, and to treat 
them in such a style as will make the rest of them more willing to 
surrender than to fight." 

2 At Fredericksburg sixteen ladies organised a surprise party, which 
visited the Hessian officers at their quarters, and stayed from half past 
three till ten o'clock in the evening. The Germans regaled their guests, — 
who included Washington's niece and his sister, — with coffee, chocolate, 
cakes, claret, and even with tea ; and gave them an entertainment of 
vocal and instrumental music. " In Europe," said Wiederhold, " we 
should not have got much honour ; but here we passed for masters." 
Such amenities, in time of war, have often been deprecated on the ground 
that women should not consort with those who have slain their country- 
men in battle. American ladies probably held that that consideration did 
not apply in the case of the Hessians who fought at Trenton. 


his name in the roll-call, and was rewarded with 
a glass of brandy. They were scattered in detach- 
ments among the townships on either bank of the 
Potomac, where they lived peaceable and contented, 
with no desire whatever to go back to the war, and not 
impatient even for their return to Germany. Their 
minds were at ease; for their pay was running up on 
the books of the British War Office ; and, as far as 
they were concerned, that was the one and only object 
for which they had come to America. They were on 
friendly and familiar terms with the inhabitants of the 
country, assisting them in their industries, sharing their 
festivities, and most certainly abstaining from all obtru- 
sive manifestations of Tory sentiment. Those among 
them who had an aptitude for mechanics were allowed 
to take service with an ironmaster of Hessian birth who 
owned a large forge and foundry in New Jersey, where 
they helped to make gun-carriages and cannon-balls for 
General Washington's artillery. Colonel Rail's bands- 
men remained in Philadelphia, and they must have 
got their clarionets and hautboys back ; for they are 
stated to have performed at the Fourth of July cele- 
bration which followed six months after the date of 

Americans were the less vindictive in their feeling 
towards the Hessians because they had ceased to be 
afraid of them. The Seven Years' War had exalted to 
a very high point the military reputation of those who 
had been engaged in it; and it was currently believed 
that German strategists and tacticians possessed certain 
tricks of their trade which lay beyond the reach of 
citizen soldiers. " Our officers," John Adams wrote, 
" do not seem sufficiently sensible of the importance of 
an observation of the King of Prussia, that stratagem, 
ambuscade, and ambush are the sublimest chapters in 
the art of war. Regular forces are never surprised. 
They are masters of rules for guarding themselves in 
every situation and contingency. The old officers among 
them are full of resources, wiles, artifices, and strata- 


gems, to deceive, decoy, and over-reach their adversa- 
ries."^ That exaggerated estimate of German craft 
and subtlety did not survive Trenton. It thenceforward 
was evident that Hessian and Hanoverian colonels, — 
without a Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, or a Prince 
Henry of Prussia, to command them, and when opposed 
to an Anglo-Saxon enemy, — were not all of them so 
many Mollendorfs and Seidlitzes. The German gren- 
adier had hitherto been a terrible bugbear in the 
imagination of ordinary Americans. Coarse engravings 
had been widely circulated representing him with long 
mustachios, an enormous pigtail, and a head-dress 
closely resembling an episcopal mitre, cocked forward 
at a minatory angle over his beetling brows ; and the 
vast panoply of war, which encumbered his person on 
march and in action, was popularly regarded as an indi- 
cation of his superhuman strength. After the close of 
the campaign, however, the employers, as well as the 
antagonists, of the German mercenary had begun to 
perceive that the secret of being formidable in battle 
depends not on looking ferocious, but on aiming cor- 
rectly. That all-important truth at last penetrated the 
convictions of the British War Office. When it was 
ascertained that at Fort Washington, where they be- 
haved well, the Hessians had killed very few Americans, 
— and that at Trenton, where they behaved ill, they 
had killed no Americans at all, — the authorities in 
Whitehall directed their agents on the Continent of 
Europe to enrol recruits, if such could be found, who 
knew something about the use of the musket which 
they carried. The Americans, on their part, who were 
a practical people, had mastered the fact that they 
ran no great danger to life or limb even within a few 
score yards of the Hessian muzzles. They still treated 
with respect a foreign regiment, when it stood in the 
line of battle, flanked and backed by an array of British 
bayonets. But, — whether they were Continental regu- 
lars, or minute-men, or armed farmers in their shirt- 
1 John Adams to William Tudor ; Philadelphia, August 29, 1776. 


sleeves, — they advanced to the attack, wherever they 
got a German force by itself, in disdainful and assured 
anticipation of an easy victory. 

The ruler of Hesse Cassel was deeply mortified. He 
could entertain no illusion as to the conduct of his 
soldiers. Under the treaties made with the British 
Government the German princes were paid a fixed 
sum for each of their subjects who was killed out- 
right, while three wounded men reckoned as one dead ; ^ 
and the Landgrave, therefore, needed only to glance at 
the credit side of his account-books in order to learn that 
his troops had laid down their arms after losing only six 
per cent, of their strength in battle. He recalled Gen- 
eral von Heister; and he ordered the officer next in com- 
mand not to rest until a long series of brave acts 
had expunged the memory of a most unfortunate affair.^ 
The guilty regiments, (so their sovereign declared,) 
should never receive any flags again until the day 
when they captured from the enemy as many standards 
as they had surrendered in such a disgraceful manner. 

That day never came. In the course of the succeed- 
ing autumn Colonel von Donop, intent on wiping off the 
disgrace of Trenton, obtained leave to assault Fort Mercer 
at the head of a force composed exclusively of Hessians ; 
but the attempt failed, and the brave German fell mor- 
tally wounded amid a great carnage of his followers. 
Earlier in the same year, at Bennington in the Hamp- 
shire Grants, Colonel Stark hastily mustered the inhabi- 
tants of the country-side, routed Burgoyne's Bruns- 
wickers, and captured them by many hundreds in a 
battle which proved to be the turning-point of the 

1 In the Treaties made by His Majesty the King of Great Britain 
with the Duke of Brunswick, and the Hereditary Prince of Hesse Cassel, 
Reigning Count of Hanau, it was expressly stipulated that for every foot- 
soldier killed there should be paid " thirty crowns Banco, the crown 
reckoned at fifty three sols of Holland." In the Treaty with the Land- 
grave of Hesse Cassel the principle was asserted, but the details were left 

^ The Landgrave of Hesse Cassel to Lieutenant General von Knyp- 
hausen ; Cassel, April 7, 1777. Von Heister, two months after his return, 
died of sorrow and disappointment. 


Saratoga campaign, which was the turning-point of the 
whole war. Such was the fate of the only two German 
contingents that possessed the martial traditions, the 
corporate spirit, and the robust organisation of long-es- 
tablished armies. It was evident that George the Third 
could expect little, — and he most undoubtedly obtained 
nothing, — from the fragmentary and extemporised rab- 
bles of unwilling peasants who had been pressed upon 
his acceptance by the minor potentates of Franconia. 
Industrious plunderers,^ and soldiers of no account, that 
wretched infantry went through the war, (whatever might 
be the case as to their honour,) with their bayonets un- 
stained. The military record of the Anhalt Zerbst bat- 
talion was farcical ; the Waldeckers all of them surren- 
dered in detachments ; and the Anspach and Bayreuth 
regiments were captured bodily at Yorktown. Seldom 
has public money been worse laid out than in the case 
of Lord North's Continental subsidies. The unpopularity 
of that policy in England, the disapprobation of Europe, 
and the irremediable alienation of American loyalty, far 
over-balanced any military advantage which accrued 
from the extravagantly remunerated services of the 
German mercenaries. 

Washington had caught the occasion by the forelock, 
at a moment when, unless his grasp had held firm, all 
would have been over with himself and his cause. A 
few days before Christmas he informed Robert Morris 
that Sir William Howe, in order to prosecute his designs 

1 In March 1 780 a raiding expedition pillaged the rich and beautiful 
village of Hackensac, which was entirely undefended. Some Americans 
came in arms to the rescue ; and the spoilers ran. " My own booty," wrote 
an Anspach musketeer, " which I brought safely back, consisted of two 
silver watches, three sets of silver buckles, a pair of woman's cotton stock- 
ings, a pair of man's mixed summer stockings, two shirts and four chemises 
of fine English linen, two fine table-cloths, one silver table-spoon and one 
teaspoon, five Spanish dollars and six York shillings in money. The other 
part, namely eleven pieces of fine linen and over two dozen silk handker- 
chiefs, with six silver plates and a silver drinking-mug, which were tied to- 
gether in a bundle, I had to throw away on account of our hurried marchf 
and leave them to the enemy that was pursuing us." 


against Philadelphia, was only waiting for the Delaware 
to freeze, and for that first of January 1777 when the 
American army would disband itself. You might as 
well, (said Washington,) attempt to stop the winds from 
blowing, or the sun in its diurnal revolution, as to pre- 
vent the soldiers from going home when their time was 
up. In another important direction the outlook was most 
discouraging. " It is mortifying to me," Morris wrote to 
President Hancock, "■ when I am obliged to tell you disa- 
greeable things ; but I am compelled to inform Congress 
that the Continental currency keeps losing its credit. 
Many people refuse openly and avowedly to receive it ; 
and several citizens, that retired into the country, must 
have starved if their own private credit had not procured 
them the common necessaries of life, when nothing could 
be got for your money." ^ General Lee was known to 
be in pecuniary distress ; and Congress had procured a 
hundred of the pieces which went by the name of a 
half-johannes, in order to relieve the immediate necessi- 
ties of the distinguished prisoner. Washington was en- 
trusted with the disbursement of this slender hoard ; and 
it was all the specie which his military chest contained. 
He was already bare of money, and by the week's end 
the greater part of his troops would have disappeared, 
when his cannon opened fire on Trenton, and the sav- 
ing mercy came. 

Then at last, and at once, the prospect brightened. 
Wherever, and whenever, the thrice-welcome news ar- 
rived, the whole Confederacy was astir. From one State 
and another the authorities sent in word that every man 
should march who could be prevailed upon to move. In 
Connecticut, — where Jonathan Trumbull ruled with the 
despotic power which at a national crisis is accorded to 
conspicuous energy and tried probity, — it was reported 
on the twenty-eighth of December that some hundreds 
of substantial freeholders, many of them not belonging 
to the militia, had engaged with a generous ardour to 

1 Robert Morris to the President of Congress at Baltimore ; Philadel- 
phia, December 23, 1776. 


serve for two months at least, until the four Continental 
battalions, which the State was bound to furnish, had 
been equipped and disciplined. Several Colonels and 
Majors, setting considerations of rank aside, had readily 
accepted the command of companies. On the same day 
Washington was informed that Pennsylvania had at 
length been fairly roused, and was coming in great num- 
bers to His Excellency's support.^ The encouraging as- 
surance proceeded from General Mifflin himself. That 
admirable recruiting officer had been working hard amid 
gloom and discouragement ; but the light had broken 
through the clouds ; a single day of sunshine enabled 
him to complete the harvest ; and he returned from his 
labours, bringing his sheaves with him. Before ever the 
year ended, sixteen hundred more Pennsylvanian militia- 
men had been sent across the Bristol Ferry to Burling- 
ton and Bordentown. Washington's most pressing care, 
however, was not so much to obtain additional regiments 
as to preserve those which he had already. "The Con- 
tinental troops," (he wrote to Robert Morris,) "are all 
at liberty. I wish to push our success to keep up the 
panick, and have promised them a bounty of ten dollars, 
if they will continue for one month. If it be possible. 
Sir, to give us assistance, do it. Borrow money where 
it can be done. We are doing it upon our private credit. 
Every man of interest, every lover of his country, must 
strain his credit upon such an occasion." ^ 

Washington led the way by pledging his own estate, 
for all that it would bear, in case Congress should 
neglect, or refuse, to make his promise of a bounty 
good. Colonel Stark, and other hard-fighting officers 
who likewise were men of substance, did not show 
themselves behindhand with their chief in patriotism 
and disinterestedness ; and four hundred and ten Span- 
ish dollars, two crowns, ten shillings and sixpence in Eng- 
lish coin, and a French half-crown, were contributed as 
a unique and precious oblation by Robert Morris. That 

^American Archives for the later days of December 1776. 

* Washington to Robert Morris ; Trenton, December 31, 1776. 


was all the gold and silver which the great financier 
could scrape together in Philadelphia ; but on the first 
of January he sent Washington fifty thousand dollars in 
paper, collected among his private friends, or drawn 
out of his own pocket ; and he accompanied the gift 
with a cheerful, fraternal letter which it must have done 
the General's heart good to read.^ Boston meanwhile, 
— safe within her own borders, and mindful of those 
whose turn it now was to hazard their lives for the 
principles which she had been the first to proclaim, and 
the foremost to defend, — sent a plentiful assortment 
of shoes and stockings, and of still more essential gar- 
ments, to clothe the destitute New England regiments. 
With these material resources in hand, the most per- 
suasive and influential officers united in exhorting their 
soldiers to remain a while longer in the ranks ; and of 
eloquence, in that army, there was a larger supply than 
of creature-comforts or soHd cash. Washington spoke 
his best ; and Knox also ; while every regiment had 
an opportunity of hearing General Mifflin harangue, 
** mounted on a noble-looking horse, in a coat made of 
rose-coloured blanket, with a large fur cap on his head." 
The man whose words, — winged by his own noble, and 
even sublime, example, — flew most directly and surely 
to the mark, was the commander of the Massachusetts 
and Rhode Island brigade. Colonel Daniel Hitchcock, 
a Master of Arts of Yale College, was an accomplished 
gentleman, and as fine a classical scholar as the erudi- 
tion of the colonies could then produce. In the last stage 
of consumption, he still might look forward to another 
fortnight of existence among the snow-gusts of that 
chilling winter; and his men heard him eagerly and 
sadly when he adjured them not to desert him until 
he had the satisfaction of striking one more blow for 
America. A great number of them assured him that 

^ " If further supplies of money," Morris wrote, " are necessary, you 
may depend on my exertions either in a public or private capacity. The 
year Seventeen seventy-six is over ; and I am heartily glad of it, and 
hope you, nor America, will be plagued with such another." 


he might count upon having his own soldiers round him 
to the last ; and the New England brigade set the rest 
of the army an example which Washington described 
as an extraordinary mark of their attachment to their 
country. The militia, (so the Commander-in-Chief 
wrote,) were pouring in from all quarters, and only 
wanted a firm body of troops, inured to danger, to lead 
them on.^ He did not pitch his hopes too high ; and 
he was tolerably contented when more than half his 
Continental veterans agreed to stay six weeks beyond 
their term of enlistment ; for that period would see the 
Republic through the gravest of the peril.^ Congress, 
schooled by misfortune, had authorised Washington to 
raise, organise, and equip a large additional body of 
regular troops, and had invested him with supreme 
military powers for the furtherance of that object. 
Those powers were already being employed to such 
purpose that, if he could hold his own for one or two 
months longer, he would find himself at the head of 
a force which, in comparison with anything he had yet 
commanded, might almost be termed a standing army. 
On the morning of Monday, the thirtieth of Decem- 
ber, Washington passed the Delaware, in order to try 
conclusions with a better prepared, and a much stouter, 

1 Washington to the officer commanding at Morristown, December 30, 
1776; to the President of Congress, January i, 1777; to the Committee 
of Congress remaining in Philadelphia, January I, 1777. 

2 David How's battalion was approached, like the others, with the offer 
of a bounty. 

"Dec. 31. The General ordered all to parade And see How many 
wood Stay 6 Weaks Longer and a Grate Part of the Army Stays for that 

"January i. This fore noon we have ben Drawing our wages and 
Sauce money. This after Noon we set out For New England marched 
4 miles. Staid at night there." 

It is plain that How himself insisted on his right to leave the colours, 
and go home. Nine months afterwards he turned out once more, " to 
march to General Gates his assistance," and arrived in time to witness the 
capitulation of Burgoyne. That, so far as is known, was his last service. 
Having taken part at Bunker's Hill, at the capture of Boston, at Trenton, 
and at Saratoga, he had done his share towards the manufacture of 


adversary than the Germans whom he had overthrown 
at Trenton. His head-quarters were transferred to that 
village ; where all his levies, new and old, had been 
directed to muster. Stirling was left in charge on the 
Pennsylvanian bank of the river, temporarily crippled by 
a well-earned attack of rheumatism ; that scourge of 
elderly generals who have enjoyed life freely, but who 
do not shrink from hardship and exposure in the field. 
Within three days Washington had collected round him 
five thousand men and forty pieces of artillery. His 
army was a medley of unequally sized and very dis- 
similar fragments, of which the best were the smallest. 
Of Haslet's eight hundred Delawares only a hundred 
remained ; and the Marylanders, who had marched to 
Long Island a thousand strong, had been reduced, there 
and elsewhere, to less than eight-score effective soldiers. 
The militia regiments on the other hand, none of which 
had been embodied during more than a fortnight, were 
full to overflowing, and made up quite half the numbers, 
though very much less than half the strength, of Wash- 
ington's army. Different, indeed, was the character 
and the composition of that force which was being 
hurried forward to recover New Jersey for the Crown, 
and to retrieve the credit of the Royal arms. When 
Colonel Rail's defeat became known in New York, 
time was not squandered, nor pains spared. The finest 
of the EngHsh regiments were sent off as fast as they 
could be got into traveUing order, and pushed quickly 
towards the Delaware, gathering up the garrisons which 
were stationed along their line of march. Lord Corn- 
wallis, whose baggage was already on board for Eng- 
land, gave up all thought of that voyage ; started for 
the front on the first morning of the New Year ; covered 
fifty miles of road at the pace of a fox-hunter on the 
way to a distant meet ; and by nightfall was already at 
Princeton, at the head of eight thousand magnificent 
soldiers, and a powerful train of cannon. Before day- 
light next morning he set the bulk of his troops in 
motion for an immediate advance on Trenton ; while a 



strong rear-guard remained behind at Princeton, with 
orders to rejoin the main army early on the morrow. 

It was a bad prospect for Washington ; but he had 
very carefully weighed the alternative dangers which 
beset him ; and he had made up his mind, at any risk 
whatsoever, to hold his ground to the east of the 
Delaware. He was firmly resolved on no account to 
abandon those inhabitants of New Jersey who had 
hailed his recent victory as the signal of their own 
deliverance, and had openly and definitively cast in 
their lot with the Revolution.^ Trenton, however, (as 
Washington, in the course of the past week, had bril- 
liantly and conclusively proved,) was not a defensible 
post. He therefore established himself on the flank of 
the village, and disposed his army in line of battle over 
a space of three miles along the southern shore of the 
Assunpink Creek, with his left resting on the Delaware 
river. Time was of moment to him ; for his force was 
not yet completely assembled, and his more remote de- 
tachments were still coming into camp during the whole 
forenoon of the second of January. He accordingly 
despatched a body of picked troops towards Maiden- 
head, with orders to delay the enemy's march, and 
stave off the impending general engagement during at 
least four-and-twenty hours. His injunctions were faith- 
fully and scrupulously obeyed. Cornwallis advanced 
in three columns along, and alongside, the Prince- 
ton highway. The English light infantry swarmed on 
ahead, together with a strong party of Hessian chas- 
seurs attached to the command of Colonel von Donop, 
who always knew the trick of making his soldiers fight. 
But the Americans had by now acquired the self-respect 
and the self-possession of veterans who would be 
equally ashamed to fail in their duty by remissness, 
or by rashness to sacrifice in killed and wounded a 

^ *' Our situation was most critical, and our force small. To remove 
immediately was again destroying every dawn of hope which had begun 
to revive in the breasts of the Jersey militia." Washington to the 
President of Congress; January 5, 1777. 


heavier toll than the performance of that duty una- 
voidably exacted. They disputed each turn of the 
road, and every thicket and ravine which lay to the 
right or the left of it. Once at least the British artil- 
lery had to be fetched up from the rear in order to 
dislodge them from a position of advantage. Both 
sides, as is usual in an affair of that nature, imagined 
that they were destroying a great number of their 
opponents, and knew that they were losing very few of 
their own people ; ^ but, although the Americans had 
not shot down many adversaries, they had killed much 
time. The British advance guard which, without dis- 
playing any backwardness, had consumed eight hours 
in traversing just as many miles, did not reach the 
houses of Trenton until four in the evening; after 
which, in the first week of January, there is little day- 
light left. 

Cornwallis, when on active service, was an early 
riser ; and he was sure to be at work the next morning 
as soon as he left his bed. So able a soldier could be 
under no doubt as to what it was incumbent on him to 
do. A front attack on the hostile position was alto- 
gether out of the question. Except in a very few places 
the Assunpink was too deep for wading, as the Von 
Knyphausens had learned to their cost ; the bridge, and 
all the fords, were protected by earthworks ; and the 
passage of the stream was commanded by more than 
three times as many muskets, and six times as many 
cannon, as had swept the slope in front of Bunker's 
Hill. But Cornwallis had a superior force of well- 
trained troops, who manoeuvred with promptitude and 
precision ; and it would be an easy matter for him to 
turn the right flank of the enemy in the direction of 
Allenstown, and force them into a combat on equal 
terms and in the open country. A full half of the 

^ Two or three American officers were wounded, and some of their 
men were killed. The Hessians lost fifteen, including a chasseur whose 
ghost, according to the negroes of the neighbourhood, walked the 
Maidenhead woods for many years afterwards. 



Americans were militiamen, badly drilled, and new to 
warfare; whereas none of Cornwallis's regiments were 
much below the average quality of the Royal army, — 
and that average was very high. Most military critics 
hold that, in a pitched battle, Washington would prob- 
ably have been beaten ; and they all of them are agreed 
that, if beaten, he would have been utterly ruined.^ 

The situation was alarming, but of the class with 
which Washington had always been singularly capable 
of deahng. He rapidly thought out a scheme by which 
he might extricate his troops from the front of peril 
without discouraging or humiliating them, and might 
attain the fruits of victory more cheaply than at the 
price of a bloody and dubious encounter with the whole 
of the Royal army.^ His objects were very clear before 
him ; and there was no bungling or hesitation in the 
methods which he adopted in order to ensure success. 
Cornwallis and his staff noticed a display of activity in 
the American lines which, to their view, augured a deep 
anxiety on Washington's part as to the issue of the im- 
pending battle. Camp fires, fed with cedar rails from 
the fences round, were blazing all along the bank-top, 
and all through the night. Sentinels challenged ; and 
strong parties of infantry paced up and down the fore- 
ground of the position until morning broke. Especially 
observable was the industry with which the American 
engineers employed the interval of darkness for strength- 
ening the fortification at the bridge. The British pickets 
could distinctly hear the voices of workmen, the blows 
of axes, and the rattle of frozen earth as it was tossed 

1 General Knox put the case very frankly in a letter to his wife. 
"The situation," he wrote, " was strong to be sure, but hazardous on this 
account, that, had our right been defeated, the defeat of the left would 
almost have been an inevitable consequence, and the whole thrown into 
confusion, or pushed into the Delaware, as it was impassable by boats." 

2 Washington gave President Hancock his reason for marching on 
Princeton in a sentence of involved construction, but perfectly plain in 
meaning. " One thing I was certain of, that it would avoid the appear- 
ance of a retreat, (which was of consequence, or to run the hazard of the 
whole army being cut off;) whilst we might by a fortunate stroke with- 
draw General Howe from Trenton, and give some reputation to our arms.** 


out of the ditches by the spade. But the real business 
of the night was conducted elsewhere. The heaviest 
American cannon, and all the stores and baggage, were 
packed off to Bordentown and Burlington ; and at one 
in the morning the army commenced a movement the 
nature and the direction of which had been disclosed to 
no one below the rank of Brigadier. So strictly was the 
secret kept that officers, who had taken up their quarters 
in farmhouses to rear of the bivouacs, were left to have 
their sleep out, and next day found difficulty in rejoin- 
ing their regiments.^ Orders were given in a whisper; 
muskets were gingerly handled, and footfalls lightly 
planted; and the tires of the gun-wheels had all been 
carefully wrapped in strips of cloth. A hard frost made 
the muddy causeways passable for artillery ; and the 
frequent forests through which those causeways led did 
not confuse or impede the progress of the expedition. 
An army containing so many Indian fighters, from the 
Commander-in-Chief downwards, was at home among 
the woods in night-time ; and the journey proceeded 
from start to finish without mishap or misadventure. 
Washington steered his course with an inclination 
towards the east, and then gradually worked round to 
the northwest, until at daybreak he struck the Princeton 
highway a mile and a half to the southward of that 
town. He came out exactly where he intended ; but he 
lighted upon something which he had not anticipated ; 
for marching down the road across his front was a 
column of red-coated infantry. 

Cornwallis had left at Princeton for the night three 
regiments of the British line, with two guns, and a small 
force of light dragoons. Some of these troops were 
now pushing on for Trenton, to take their part in the 
expected battle, with a haste which was to the credit of 
their courage, and an absence of caution that was a 

1 Chapter xv. of Stryker's Trenton and Princeton. The account there 
given of Washington's flank-march is illustrated by the local knowledge 
of a neighbour, and the oral traditions accessible to the member of an old 
Revolutionary family. 


practical and most indisputable compliment to the craft 
and secrecy of Washington's strategy. The British, 
(so General Knox wrote,) were as much astonished as 
if an army had dropped perpendicularly upon them 
from the clouds ; ^ but, though amazed, they were not 
confounded. They at once faced about, deployed into 
line, and came valiantly, and even jauntily, forwards. 
Colonel Mawhood, of the Seventeenth Foot, who was 
their acting Brigadier, rode among them on a small 
brown pony, with two favourite spaniels bounding 
before him. The Americans were cold and hungry, and 
worn out by toil and want of sleep. The English were 
fresh and well breakfasted ; but that was the sole ad- 
vantage which they enjoyed; for they were outnumbered 
four to one, and their scanty force was dispersed in 
three segments. The Fortieth regiment had remained 
in Princeton to guard the stores ; the Fifty-fifth, though 
already on the road, was a mile to the rear ; and Colonel 
Mawhood had under his hand little besides his own bat- 
talion. During the first few minutes the odds were not 
unequal. In the van of the American army was a weak 
brigade of Continental infantry, under the command 
of General Mercer, — a man of mature years, with a 
varied, an eventful, and a most honourable career behind 
him. He served as surgeon in Prince Charles's army 
at Culloden ; he had borne arms with distinction in 
French and Indian warfare ; and before the Revolution 
he was a physician, noted throughout Virginia for his 
skill and gentleness. Both parties raced for the posses- 
sion of an orchard which lay midway between them. 
The Americans reached it first, but the English 
appeared to want it the most. Three volleys were 
exchanged across a space of forty yards ; and then 
Colonel Mawhood led on his people at a run. It was 
a bayonet-charge of another sort from that of poor 
Colonel Rail. The Continental soldiers broke and fled ; 
but some of the oflficers remained at their post, and died 
very staunchly. Two New Jersey field-pieces were 

1 General Knox to his wife ; Morristown, January 7, 1777. 


captured, and the captain in charge of them was killed 
at his guns. Mercer himself used his sword until he 
fell covered with wounds. Those who witnessed the 
behaviour of the Seventeenth Foot on that occasion 
might well ask themselves what would have happened 
if Cornwallis had hurled not one, but twelve or fifteen, 
of such regiments against the right wing of the Ameri- 
can army while it was enclosed and entrapped between 
the ice-laden flood of the Delaware, and the unfordable 
Assunpink Creek. 

The British followed in pursuit; but they found 
themselves in presence of numerous reinforcements 
which were flocking in towards the sound of the firing. 
Immediately to their front was a great mass of the 
Philadelphia Associators. These unpractised soldiers, 
civiHans of yesterday, were thrown into disorder by the 
backward rush of their defeated countrymen ; but they 
were recalled to their duty by the strenuous exertions 
of some gallant men who did not ask themselves whether 
that lead-swept spot of ground was the precise place to 
which their special business called them. Captain Will- 
iam Shippen, a naval officer of the Delaware squadron, 
there got his death-wound ; and Colonel Haslet dropped 
with a bullet through his brain. In his pocket was an 
order directing him to go home on recruiting service, 
which he had divulged to no one, and had silently dis- 
obeyed. Washington himself rode forward between the 
opposing lines, until he was within thirty paces of the 
hostile muzzles. His friends disapproved the action as 
an excess of rashness ; but it was a matter on which, 
like Wolfe before him, and Wellington after him, he 
had no conscience whatsoever.^ The veterans from 
Rhode Island and Massachusetts, whom Colonel Hitch- 
cock brought into action in soldierly array, showed 

1 One of our generals, in the Peninsular war, had been too reckless 
of his own safety under fire. " Lord Wellington," wrote Sir George 
Larpent, " blames his exposing himself ; with what face I know not." 
That was a fine compliment to the valour of the Commander-in-Chief; 
and very pithily turned. 


a steadfast countenance ; the Philadelphia Associators 
warmed to their work, and Mercer's soldiers began to 
come back, as soon as there was a nucleus of discipline 
and martial resolution on which to rally ; and the whole 
space in front, and in flank, of the English regiment 
was rapidly thronged with as many militiamen, regulars, 
and riflemen from the Western frontier, as could find 
room to ply their firelocks. The adversaries were sepa- 
rated by so short a distance that they could hear each 
other speak during the moments which elapsed before 
the roar of musketry commenced.^ A Pennsylvanian 
battery was brought almost within pistol range, and the 
guns were discharged with such terrible effect as to 
shock those American officers who observed the ravages 
of the grape-shot. It was the old story. During the 
early portion of the war it had sometimes not been easy 
to induce the country-bred troops to stand ; but, when- 
ever they held their ground, their fire was extraordinarily 
destructive. The line of British infantry, a bare four 
hundred to begin with, must very soon have been anni- 
hilated. No miUtary object could be promoted by such 
a tragedy ; enough had been done for honour ; and 
Colonel Mawhood turned his attention to the task of 
saving the remnant of his battalion. He abandoned 
the two cannon which he had taken, and two others 
of his own, and made off in the direction of Trenton, 
covering his retreat, as best he might, with a handful 
of cavalry .2 

According to those who professed to have taken the 
time by their watches, all this desperate fighting was 
crowded into fifteen minutes ; and in that quarter of 
an hour the affair had been decided. When Colonel 
Mawhood retired from the field, the rest of the British 

1 As the First Virginians were being got into position, Captain John 
Fleming called out, " Gentlemen, dress the line." " We will dress you," 
a British private retorted ; and Fleming was killed the next instant. 

2 " In this trying and dangerous situation the brave commander, and 
his equally brave regiment, have gained immortal honour." That sentence, 
from the " History of Europe " in the Annual Register^ expressed the 
unanimous opinion of Colonel Mawhood's countrymen. 


force would have done well at once to march away in 
the opposite direction ; but they now were entirely cut 
off from their commanding officer, and they had no 
orders. Without artillery, and on ground not adapted 
for effectual defence, they very speedily had upon their 
hands the whole of Washington's army. General Sulli- 
van, who led the right wing of the Americans, advanced 
vigorously against Princeton, and drove the Fifty-fifth 
and Fortieth regiments in a northerly direction through 
and beyond the town, killing a few, and capturing large 
numbers of prisoners. An attempt at resistance was 
made in and around the College. Even in that quarter 
there was very little bloodshed, but some profanation ; 
for young Alexander Hamilton, with the irreverence 
of a student fresh from a rival place of education, 
planted his guns on the sacred grass of the academical 
Campus, and fired a six-pound shot which is said to 
have passed through the head of King George the 
Second's portrait in the Chapel. The buildings were 
soon encompassed by an overwhelming force, and their 
garrison surrendered at discretion. 

When the town had been cleared, Washington came 
to an almost instant resolution as to the course which 
it behoved him to pursue. If he had been able to 
dispose of six or eight hundred troops with some spring 
and alertness left in them, he would, (he said,) have 
made a forced march on Brunswick, which contained 
the magazines belonging to the British army of occu- 
pation, as well as their military chest, with seventy 
thousand pounds inside it.^ But his- soldiers, who had 
carried their arms during forty continuous hours of 
bitter weather, were falling asleep on the frozen 
ground ; and there was no time allowed them to snatch 
a rest or cook a meal. As soon as the sun tinged with 
light the fog of early morning, Cornwallis discovered 
the trick which had been played him on the Assunpink 
Creek ; and he marched at top-speed towards the dis- 

^ Washington to the President of Congress ; Pluckemin, January 5, 


tant boom of the cannon, — that most distracting of all 
music in the ears of those who themselves ought by 
rights to be taking an active part in the concert. While 
Washington's rear-guard was still within sight of Prince- 
ton, the British hght infantry were already at the south- 
ern entrance of the village ; and the Americans would 
have been overtaken by their pursuers before ever they 
reached Brunswick. There, by all the rules of war, they 
should have encountered Sir William Howe and his 
New York army ; and they would have been caught 
between two fires, either of which was quite as hot as 
they could endure. At a point five miles beyond Prince- 
ton, Washington turned due north out of the Bruns- 
wick road ; lay that night at Somerset Court House ; 
and marched thence, by Pluckemin, to the central, the 
convenient, and the very defensible position of Morris- 
town. There he established his troops securely, and, 
(by comparison with their experiences during the first 
ten weeks of winter,) not uncomfortably. Undisturbed 
by the adversary, — and in daily communication with 
Albany, Philadelphia, and New England, — he abode 
during the next four months at his head-quarters in the 
Jerseys ; a thankful, a somewhat hopeful, and an ex- 
ceedingly busy man.^ 

Howe, giving no names or details, stated the British 
loss at about two hundred and twenty. Washington 
reported to Congress that upwards of a hundred of the 
enemy were left dead on the field, and that he had in 
custody near three hundred prisoners, of whom fourteen 
bore commissions. Thirty Americans were returned as 
wounded. The same number of their privates were 
killed, and seven of their officers.^ The fighting had 
been so close and fierce that a very large proportion of 
the casualties were fatal ; and yet, during the whole of 

1 Between the seventh of January and the twenty-eighth of May, 1777, 
every single one of Washington's despatches is addressed from Morris- 

2 General Mercer lived till the Sunday week after the battle, and suf- 
fered cruelly up to the very last. When the firing ceased, Washington 
shook hands with Colonel Hitchcock at the head of the New England 


the operations which had taken place since Washing- 
ton crossed the Delaware on Christmas night, not two 
hundred lives were sacrificed in both the armies to- 
gether. More often than enough in the world's history 
twenty thousand men have been slaughtered in a single 
battle ; and far less has come of it, at the moment, or 

Howe, in his published despatch, made very light 
indeed of the disaster at Princeton ; but he was too old 
a soldier to neglect the lesson which the events of the 
past ten days had taught him. He at length perceived 
that, so long as Washington's army was in existence, 
his own tactics would have to be governed by military, 
and not by political, considerations. It had been a 
premature act to quarter his troops in detached canton- 
ments over an extensive district for the purpose of 
overawing populations of doubtful fidelity, or of safe- 
guarding a loyal province ; and New Jersey was no 
longer friendly, nor even neutral. " Howe," wrote John 
Adams, "will repent his mad march through the Jer- 
seys. The people of that Commonwealth begin to raise 
their spirits exceedingly, and to be firmer than ever. 
They are actuated by resentment now ; and resentment 
coinciding with principle is a very powerful motive." ^ 
A Delaware captain, who was following the army, and 
who kept his eyes about him, prophesied that Jersey 
would henceforward be the most Whiggish colony on 
the Continent. The very Quakers, (he said,) declared 
for taking up arms ; for the distress of the country was 
beyond imagination, and everyone had been stripped 
without distinction.^ The proceedings of the Hessians, 
moreover, suffered by contrast. Washington's conduct 
in disposing of their booty has been faithfully described 
by an honest Tory, who would have travelled many 

brigade, and thanked him in the hearing of his soldiers. The colonel 
then went quietly home to Rhode Island, and died in ten days ; — killed 
at Princeton, if his family cared to claim that honour. 

1 John Adams to his wife ; Baltimore, February 17, 1777. 

2 Captain Thomas Rodney, from near Princeton ; December 30, 1777. 
The letter is in the American Archives, 


miles to see him executed for a rebel. The American 
commander, (so this gentleman related,) advertised for 
all persons to come in, and prove their property in the 
stolen goods ; and to all such as made out a title the 
effects were delivered. " This act gained him the hearts 
of the people. It gave him an influence, a popularity, 
and a character in New Jersey of which he made the 
most proper use." ^ 

The news of Trenton spread confusion and perplexity 
through all the townships where Royal troops were sta- 
tioned ; and the ferment was redoubled when it became 
known that Washington had marched across the rear of 
Cornwallis, and had sorely maltreated three of his regi- 
ments.^ Sir William Howe's chain of posts at once 
came clanking and clattering down. Hackensac and 
Elizabeth Town, — in the very heart of the district 
which he had undertaken to protect, — were captured 
by the Americans, together with much baggage and 
many prisoners ; a band of minute-men killed or took a 
detachment of fifty Waldeckers ; and a score of New 
Jersey light-horsemen intercepted a train of Royal wag- 
gons laden with woollen clothing which was most accept- 
able among the tents at Morristown. All this happened 
in the first week of January ; and Howe, passing from 
the extreme of temerity to a redundance of caution,, col- 
lected his New Jersey army of occupation into two large 
garrisons of five thousand men apiece, and planted them 
respectively at Brunswick and Perth Amboy, within 

^ Jones's History of New York ; Vol. I., chapter viii. There are some 
interesting remarks, relative to New Jersey, in the Annual Register for 
1777. "As soon as fortune turned," (so the passage runs,) "and the 
means were in their power, the sufferers of all parties, the well-disposed 
to the Royal cause as well as the neutrals and the wavering, now rose as a 
man to revenge their personal injuries and particular oppressions, and, 
— being goaded by a keener spur than any which a public cause, or 
general motive, could have excited, — became its bitterest and most deter- 
mined enemies." 

2 Colonel Enoch Markham's journal supplies a vivid picture of the 
disorder which prevailed in rear of the British lines when the New Year 
opened. Extracts are given in the first Appendix at the end of this 


touch of each other, and out of all opportunity for strik- 
ing a blow against the enemy. He contented himself 
with securing the banks of the Raritan for a stretch of 
ten miles above the mouth of the river; and he aban- 
doned all the rest of the province to the audacious and 
indefatigable enterprise of the Revolutionary partisans. 
The rural folk put themselves at the service of Wash- 
ington's flying columns in the capacity of scouts, mes- 
sengers, and informants ; ^ and the more adventurous 
among them transacted much business on their own 
account at the expense of the British regimental messes. 
They surprised convoys ; they cut off foragers ; they 
detected and emptied outlying repositories of food and 
fuel. " Not a stick of wood," we are told, ''not a spear 
of grass, or a kernel of corn, could the troops in New 
Jersey procure without fighting for it, unless it was sent 
from New York ; " and in New York nothing grew, and 
everything had to be fetched from England or Ireland 
at a vast expense, and very much the less palatable on 
account of the distance over which it had travelled. By 
the end of March 1777, the London diners learned with 
compassion that their friends in Sir William Howe's 
army were reduced to salt provisions, and to ammunition 
bread which notoriously was almost uneatable.^ Captain 
Harris of the Fifth Foot, — a valiant trencherman, like 
most young fellows who are marked out for eminence 
in war or politics, — complained that our reverses had 
occasioned such shifting of quarters as to render the 
prospect of passing the winter in ease and luxury totally 
dark ; inasmuch as those supplies which had been pro- 

1 Jones's Hhtory of New York ; Vol. I., chapter viii. 

2 Horace Walpole to the Revd. William Mason ; Strawberry Hill, 
March 28, 1777. The garrison of New York, (said Walpole,) had not 
even, for a relish to their salt beef, the twenty thousand pounds' worth 
of pickles which had been sent them when they were besieged in Boston. 
" It is highly unpleasant," (so George the Third wrote to Lord North 
on New Year's day, 1777,) "to see the contractors have continued 
delivering such bad biscuit and flour after the repeated directions given 
by the Board of Treasury ; but I trust Sir William Howe is now in 
possession of so extensive a country that he will not require to be entirely 
provided from Europe." 


curable for money, and at very moderate prices, had 
now to be gathered at the point of the sword, and, what 
was worse, with very great fatigue.^ 

Sir WiUiam Howe, for the time being, had lost his 
hold on the mainland of America ; and his second cam- 
paign, like his first, had gone to water. The most im- 
portant results, however, of Trenton and Princeton were 
not of a local or a temporary character. The permanent 
and paramount consequence of those masterly operations 
was the establishment of Washington's military reputa- 
tion, and the increased weight of his political and 
administrative authority throughout every State of the 
Confederacy, and up to the very latest hour of the war. 
A commander, patient and intrepid in adversity, and 
silent under calumny, — who never attempts to gloss 
over his reverses, or to explain away his mistakes, — 
reaps the reward of his honesty and self-control tenfold, 
and a hundredfold, when, out of a cloud of gloom and 
peril, success at length comes. No one then questions 
the truth as he tells it in his despatches ; men are 
inclined to over-rate, rather than to depreciate and to 
decry, the advantages he has gained ; and few grudge 
the full credit of victory to a general who has always 
accepted the entire responsibility for failure. The with- 
drawal of Sir William Howe from his advanced positions 
in New Jersey proved to be, in the case of Washington, 
what the retreat of Massena from before the lines of 

^ Life of Lord Harris^ G. C.B. The distress in New York grew ever 
more severe as the war proceeded. " How people exist in this town," 
(Lord Carlisle wrote,) " is to the greatest degree wonderful. All the 
necessaries of life are dear beyond conception. Meat is from fifteen to 
seventeen pence a pound, and everything else in proportion. My weekly 
bills come to as much as the house-account at Castle Howard when we 
have the most company." Lord Carlisle to Lady Carlisle ; New York, 
September 22, 1778. 

The contents of the three last pages, (in addition to what is derived 
from British and Loyalist sources,) are mainly taken from the Public 
Papers of General George Clinton, from Heath's Diary^ and from 
Washington's Correspondence. There is likewise an important passage 
in a letter from Robert Morris to the American Envoys in Paris of 
March 28, 1777. 


Torres Vedras was in relation to the personal fortunes, 
and the public usefulness, of WeUington. Any more 
exact parallel in the story of two exalted careers it would 
be difficult to name. From Trenton onwards, Washing- 
ton was recognised as a far-sighted and skilful general 
all Europe over, — by the great military nobles in the 
Empress Catherine's court, by French Marshals and 
Ministers, in the King's cabinet at Potsdam, at Madrid, 
at Vienna, and in London. He had shown himself, 
(said Horace Walpole,) both a Fabius and a Camillus ; 
and his march through the British lines was allowed to 
be a prodigy of leadership. ^ That was the talk in 
England ; and the Englishman who, of all others, most 
warmly appreciated Washington's strategy in New 
Jersey during that fortnight of midwinter was one who 
had had the very best opportunity for judging of it. 
After the capitulation at Yorktown, in October 1781, a 
dinner was given at the American head-quarters to the 
principal officers in the British, the French, and the Con- 
tinental armies. Cornwallis, — exaggerating to himself, 
it may be, the obligations of old-fashioned courtesy and 
chivalry, — took his seat at the board, and responded 
thus to a toast which Washington had proposed. ** When 
the illustrious part that your Excellency has borne in 
this long and arduous contest becomes matter of history, 
fame will gather your brightest laurels rather from the 
banks of the Delaware than from those of the Chesa- 
peake." At that moment, and before that audience, 
Washington's generalship in the Chesapeake campaign 
must have represented an exceptionally high standard 
of comparison. 

In such estimation was Washington held by foreigners, 
whether they were declared enemies, or benevolent neu- 
trals, or potential and probable allies ; and he thence- 
forward had all his own countrymen for admirers, 
except those very few who did not as yet altogether 
renounce the ambition of being popularly regarded as 
his rivals. The enhanced influence which he derived 

1 Walpole to Mann ; Strawberry Hill, April 3, 1777. 


from prosperity came at the precise conjuncture when 
that influence could be utilised with the greatest pos- 
sible effect. On the twentieth of December he had 
addressed to the President of Congress a long and 
earnest exposition of the evils arising from the plan 
of short enlistments in the Continental armies ; from a 
low average of professional capacity in the commissioned 
ranks ; from the weakness of the artillery, and the en- 
tire absence of cavalry and of scientific officers. Con- 
gress, in reply, invested him with "full, ample, and 
complete powers " to raise sixteen additional battalions 
of infantry, three thousand light-horse, three regiments 
of artillery, and a corps of engineers ; to call upon 
any of the States for such aid of the militia as he should 
deem necessary ; to displace and appoint all officers 
beneath the rank of Brigadier ; to take, at a fair price, 
all supplies of provisions, or articles of equipment, 
which he might require for the use of the army ; and 
to arrest, confine, and send for trial in the Civil Courts, 
any persons whatsoever who were disaffected to the 
American cause. This dictatorship, — for it was noth- 
ing less, — was extended over the old Roman period of 
six months ; and Congress specifically announced that 
the step was taken in perfect reliance on the wisdom, 
the vigour, and the uprightness of General Washington. 
It was handsomely worded ; but the force of the compli- 
ment lay not so much in the phrasing, as in the timing, 
of the Resolution. Although a final decision was not 
taken until the day after Trenton, Washington's letter 
had been read and considered, and a committee had 
been appointed to prepare an answer, before the issue 
of that battle was known in Baltimore. Such an ex- 
pression of confidence, unstintedly and unanimously 
accorded during the closing hours of the very darkest 
season in American history, will remain on record 
through all ages as a tribute to the man, and not to 
his fortune. 

That fortune had now turned. After a year and a 
half's intense and continual study of Sir William Howe, 


Washington had read his character, and understood his 
ways. Divining with certainty that the British general 
would leave him in peace during the rest of the winter 
and well forward into the spring, he set himself calmly 
to the task of reinforcing and remaking the Continental 
army. Congress, acting on his advice, had sanctioned 
the enlistment of soldiers for a term of three years, or 
for the duration of the war ; and the sixteen new battal- 
ions were to be formed of men taken indiscriminately 
from all or any of the States. The last provision was 
much to the mind of Washington, who, (to use his own 
language,) had laboured to discourage all kinds of local 
attachments and distinctions throughout the army, " de- 
nominating the whole by the greater name of American." ^ 
That sentiment, in the early days of the Revolution, was 
not congenial to the national tastes and temperament. 
In the view of a New Englander, or a Pennsylvanian, 
the ideal regiment was a provincial corps where he was 
at home among friends and neighbours ; where disci- 
pline was loose, and furloughs might be had for the 
asking, or even for the taking ; and where the period 
of service was terminable within the twelvemonth. Pre- 
viously to Trenton it would have been impossible to 
exact the strict conditions indispensable for the solidity 
of a regular army ; but the name of Washington was 
now endowed with a power to inspire and attract his 
younger fellow-countrymen ; and he succeeded in en- 
gaging a considerable supply, although not a sufficiency, 
of recruits who bound themselves to see the war through. 
If they came in slowly, they came steadily ; and those 
who presented themselves were for the most part well 
worth retaining. 

Washington still had plenty of room in his ranks for 
privates ; but the case was otherwise with regard to his 
officers. The muster-rolls showed a superfluity of cap- 
tains and lieutenants, and a veritable glut of colonels. 
There were good and bad among them ; but their indi- 

1 Washington to the President of Congress ; Camp above Trenton 
Falls, December 20, 1776. 



vidual worth had been severely and decisively tested on 
Long Island and at White Plains, in the Jersey retreat, 
and amid the hardships of the Canadian expedition. 
Washington had an intimate personal acquaintance with 
those brigades which he had led in battle ; he knew for 
himself whether an officer sought, or shunned, work and 
danger ; and he spared no pains to ascertain the merits 
and defects of those who had served in distant parts of 
the Continent under other generals.^ Absolute trust 
was reposed in his justice and impartiality ; his authority 
no one ventured to dispute ; and there seldom, or never, 
has been a fairer opportunity for the exercise of that un- 
flinching and enlightened selection which is the key- 
stone of warlike efficiency. The labour of reorganisation 
was carried forward under dire pressure ; but it was not 
scamped or hurried. Before the end of the ensuing 
summer a very censorious critic was at his post of 
observation when the American Commander-in-Chief 
marched down the main street of Philadelphia at the 
head of nine or ten thousand of his troops. Though 
indifferently dressed, (so this witness remarked,) they 
held well-burnished arms, and carried them like soldiers ; 
and they looked as if they might have faced an equal 
number of their redoubtable adversaries with a reasonable 
prospect of success.^ That opinion was justified, in the 

1 The American Archives contain a curious report to the New York 
Convention, made at the close of 1776 by a committee appointed for the 
purpose of revising the list of officers in the State Contingent. The work 
was done conscientiously and rigidly; and some of the entries are in re- 
markably plain and unvarnished English. " Not so careful and attentive 
as could be wished." " A sober officer, but rather too old." " Too heavy 
and inactive for an officer." "Too heavy and illiterate for an officer." 
** Of too rough a make for an officer ; better qualified for the Navy than 
the Army." " A very low-lived fellow." " A good officer, but of a sickly 
constitution, and had better quit the service." " Wanting in authority to 
make a good officer. He has deceived the Convention by enlisting the 
men for six and nine months, instead of during the war." "These three 
lieutenants wish to decline the service. They will be no loss to it." 
Many of the names are noted as excellent, creditable, and promising ; 'but 
it is evident that there had been little time to pick and choose among the 
candidates for commissions during the stress and hurry which accompanied 
the outbreak of hostilities. 

* Pennsylvanian Memoirs; chapter xii. 


five years which were to come, by a long series of 
battles honourably lost, or arduously won. The military 
force which Washington brought into shape at Morris- 
town, — waxing or waning in numbers, but constantly 
improving in quality, — followed him obediently, reso- 
lutely, and devotedly as long as their country had 
occasion for a general and an army. 




The events, which took place during those stirring 
months in the regions watered by the Delaware and 
Hudson rivers, form a plain and straightforward nar- 
rative; but the story of what was passing in Eng- 
land is more complicated, and far more difficult to 
tell. For that was no affair of marches and counter- 
marches, of skirmishes, and panics, and surprises. The 
conflict there was in the senate, the market-place, and 
the newspaper ; in the interior of every household, and 
within the breast of every thinking citizen. Before the 
year 1777 was six weeks old it became plain that the 
hour had arrived when it was incumbent upon all men to 
form an opinion of their own, to profess it frankly, and 
to abide by it courageously. Up to this time many had 
concerned themselves but little with the rights and 
wrongs of the quarrel, or with the expediency of an 
appeal to arms. The Government, which was supposed 
to know, had proclaimed that the colonists were con- 
temptible as antagonists, that the war would be short 
and cheap, and that the cost of it would very soon be 
covered, several times over, by the produce of taxes 
which Americans would never again refuse to pay when 
once they had been well beaten ; and quiet people, who 
liked being governed, had believed the Government. 
Some, indeed, among the Peers and members of Parlia- 
ment who supported the Cabinet had long ago admitted 
to each other, in whispers and sealed letters, that they had 
begun to be desperately uneasy. " Administration," 
(wrote Lord Carlisle to George Selwyn as early as the 



winter of 1775,) "is in a great scrape. Their measures 
never can succeed. We, who have voted for them, have 
a right to complain ; for they have deceived us, and, I 
suppose, themselves." ^ The same disheartening con- 
viction was now brought home to every private individual 
who could spare five minutes a day to the consideration 
of public affairs. After eight years of military occu- 
pation, and twenty-one months of very hard fighting, 
America was far from being conquered, and farther yet 
from being convinced that her interest lay in submission 
to the demands of the British Parliament. 

The situation was clearly understood, and temperately 
but unanswerably exposed, by discerning onlookers in 
either country. An American Whig, at the very mo- 
ment when the prospects of his own cause were dark- 
est, made a cool and careful estimate of the English 
chances. " Their whole hope of success," he said, ** de- 
pends upon frequent and decisive victories, gained before 
our army is disciplined. The expense of feeding and 
paying great fleets and armies, at such a distance, is too 
enormous for any nation on earth to bear for a great 
while. It is said that ninety thousand tons of shipping 
are employed in their service constantly, at thirteen 
shillings and four pence a ton per month. When our 
soldiers are enlisted for the war, discipline must daily 
increase. Our army can be recruited after a defeat, 
while our enemies must cross the Atlantic to repair a 
misfortune. Have we felt a tenth part of the hardships 
the States of Holland suffered at the hands of Spain ; 
or does our case look half so difficult } States are not 
conquered by victories. After a succession of splendid 
victories obtained over France by the Duke of Marlbor- 
ough, in each of which more men were slain than in the 
whole of this war, still that kingdom made a formidable 
resistance, and obtained an honourable peace." ^ 

1 George Selwyn and his Contemporaries ; Vol. III., page 114, of the 
Edition of 1844. 

2 American newspaper article of December 24, 1776; signed "Perse- 


That was written in December i 'j'j6, when all the vic- 
tories which hitherto marked the campaign had been 
scored by the British. After Trenton and Princeton 
were fought, and Howe had retired from the Jerseys, 
the same views were yet more powerfully enforced by a 
Londoner. " The small scale of our maps deceived us ; 
and, as the word * America ' takes up no more room than 
the word * Yorkshire,' we seem to think the territories 
they represent are much of the same bigness ; though 
Charleston is as far from Boston as London from Venice. 
Braddock might tell the difficulties of this loose, rugged 
country, were he living. Amherst might still do it. Yet 
these officers found a willing people to help them, and 
General Howe finds nothing willing. We have under- 
taken a war against farmers and farmhouses, scattered 
through a wild waste of continent, and shall soon hear 
of our General being obliged to garrison woods, to scale 
mountains, to wait for boats and pontoons at rivers, and 
to have his convoys and escorts as large as armies. These, 
and a thousand such difficulties, will rise on us at the 
next stage of the war. I say the next stage, because we 
have hitherto spent one campaign, and some millions, in 
losing one landing-place at Boston ; and, at the charge 
of seven millions and a second campaign, we have re- 
placed it with two other landing-places at Rhode Island 
and New York. I am entirely of opinion with Voltaire 
that every great conqueror must be a great politician. 
Something more is required, than the mere mechanical 
business of fighting, in composing revolts and bringing 
back things to their former order." ^ 

The keenest eye in Europe already foresaw the inevi- 
table issue. Frederic of Prussia had won and lost many 
battles, and had learned not to over-rate the importance 
of any single defeat or victory. He had followed Wash- 
ington, through the vicissitudes of the protracted strug- 
gle, with the insight and sympathy of one who himself 
had striven against fearful odds ; who had committed 
grievous mistakes, and had profited by his lesson ; and 

1 Letter from London of February 1777. 


who had at length emerged, secure and successful, from 
a flood of war in which both friends and enemies, for 
years together, felt assured that nothing could save him 
from being overwhelmed. With such an experience he 
did not need to wait for Saratoga and Yorktown in order 
to be convinced that Great Britain had involved herself 
in a hopeless task. All the information which he had 
received, (so he wrote in the first half of March 1777,) 
went to show that the colonies would attain, and keep, 
their independence.^ That was how the future was re- 
garded by the greatest warrior of the age ; and the facts 
of the case, as he knew them, were the property of all 
the world. Civilians, who had never seen a cannon fired, 
but who could use their common sense, had plenty of 
material on which to build an estimate of the military 
probabilities. Abundant and most discouraging intelli- 
gence appeared in private letters from officers in 
America, which were freely published in the English 
journals ; and even those who took in the ** London 
Gazette," and no other newspaper, might find very seri- 
ous matter for reflection as they read between the lines 
of Sir William Howe's despatches. 

There was, however, an aspect of the question which 
occupied and concerned our ancestors far more deeply 
than any purely military considerations. It must never 
be forgotten that many Englishmen from the first, — and 
in the end a decided, and indeed a very large, majority 
among them, — regarded the contest which was being 
fought out in America not as a foreign war, but as a 
civil war in which English liberty was the stake. They 
held that a policy had been deliberately initiated, and 
during half a generation had been resolutely pursued, of 
which the avowed object was to make the Royal power 
dominant in the State ; and the historians in highest 
repute, who since have treated of those times, unreserv- 
edly maintain the same view. That policy had now pre- 
vailed ; and Personal Government, from a mischievous 
theory, had grown into a portentous reality. The vic- 

1 Le Roi Frederic au Comte de Maltzan ; Potsdam, 13 mars, 1777. 


tory of the Crown had been preceded by an epoch oi 
continuous and bitter strife, every stage in which was 
marked by deplorable incidents. The publication through 
the press of opinions obnoxious to the Court had been 
punished with unsparing severity. The right of con- 
stituents to elect a person of their choice had been de- 
nied in words, and repeatedly violated in practice. The 
benches of the Lords and the Commons swarmed with 
an ever increasing band of placemen and pensioners 
subsidised by the King ; and these gentlemen well knew 
the work which their paymaster expected of them. Their 
vocation was to harass any minister who conceived that 
he owed a duty to the people as well as to the Sov- 
ereign ; and to betray and ruin him if he proved incor- 
rigible in his notions of patriotism. The most famous 
English statesmen, — all, it is not too much to say, who 
are now remembered with pride by Englishmen of every 
party, — were shut out from the opportunity, and even 
from the hope, of office; and our national qualities of 
manliness and independence had come to be a standing 
disqualification for employment in the nation's service. 
At last the Cabinet had picked a quarrel with the colo- 
nies over the very same question which convulsed Eng- 
land in the days of Strafford and the ship-money. In 
order to vindicate the doctrine that taxation might be 
imposed without representation, the servants of the 
Crown, or rather its bondsmen, (for the Prime Minister, 
and the most respectable of his colleagues, were in this 
matter acting under compulsion, and against their con- 
sciences,) had undertaken to coerce the communities in 
America with fire and sword, and to visit individuals with 
the extreme penalties of rebellion. It followed, as a 
natural and certain consequence, that the party, which 
resented the encroachments of the Crown at home, sin- 
cerely and universally entertained a belief which influ- 
enced their whole view of the colonial controversy. That 
belief had been placed on record, in quiet but expressive 
language, by a nobleman who, in his honoured age, lived 
among us as the last of the old Whigs. Lord Albemarle 


distinctly states that in 1774, and for some years after- 
wards, the Opposition were possessed by ** a deep and 
well-grounded conviction that, if despotism were once 
established in America, arbitrary government would at 
least be attempted in the mother-country." ^ 

Those apprehensions were shared by men whose 
judgement cannot lightly be set aside, and the strength 
of whose patriotism was many degrees above proof. 
Chatham, when he spoke in public, dwelt mainly upon 
the rights of the colonists, the duty of England, and the 
appalling military dangers which would result to the 
Empire if those rights were invaded and that duty ig- 
nored. With the instinct of a great orator, he did not 
willingly introduce fresh debateable matter into a con- 
troversy where he had so many sufficient and self-evident 
arguments ready to his hand ; but his private correspond- 
ence clearly indicates that the keenness of his emotion, 
and the warmth of his advocacy, were closely connected 
with a profound belief that, if America were subjugated, 
Britain would not long be free. Would to Heaven, (he 
wrote,) that England was not doomed to bind round her 
own hands, and wear patiently, the chains which she 
was forging for her colonies ! And then he quoted, with 
telling effect, the passage in which Juvenal described 
how the spread of servility among the Roman people, 
and the corruption of their pubHc spirit, avenged the 
wrongs of the subject world upon the conquerors them- 
selves. ^ 

The fears which Chatham acknowledged were con- 
fessed likewise by the only man, then alive, whose 
authority stands on a level with his own. In the early 
spring of 1777 Burke affirmed that the American war 
had done more in a very few years, than all other causes 
could have done in a century, to prepare the minds of 

^ Those words are found in the tenth chapter of the second volume of 
Lord Rockingham'' s Memoirs. Lord Albemarle, who had played trap-ball 
with Charles Fox, lived to hold an extemporised levee of London society 
on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the day when he carried the colours on 
to the field of Waterlcjo. 

2 The Earl of Qiatham to Mr. Sheriff Sayre ; Hayes, August 28, 1774. 


the English people for the introduction of arbitrary gov- 
ernment. The successive steps of the process, by which 
that result was being brought about, are set forth in the 
last five paragraphs of the Letter to the Sheriffs of Bris- 
tol with the fullness and exactness of a political philoso- 
pher, and the incisive vigour of a practical statesman. 
Those paragraphs, indeed, are too long to quote ; and it 
would be a literary crime to abridge or to paraphrase 
them ; but the conclusions at which Burke had arrived 
are more briefly and roughly stated in a couple of sen- 
tences wherein he thus commented on the American 
rebellion. " We cannot," he wrote, " amidst the excesses 
and abuses which have happened, help respecting the 
spirit and principles operating in these commotions. 
Those principles bear so close a resemblance to those 
which support the most valuable part of our constitu- 
tion, that we cannot think of extirpating them in any 
part of His Majesty's dominions without admitting con- 
sequences, and establishing precedents, the most dan- 
gerous to the liberties of this kingdom." ^ 

Horace Walpole, with whom the chief men of both 
parties freely conversed, had no doubt whither the road 
led which the stronger, and the worse, members of the 
Cabinet joyfully followed; and down which the less 
perverse, and the more timid, were irresistibly driven. 
He never was easy about the political future of his 
country, until North's Government fell, and the danger 
disappeared. During the winter when Howe and 
Washington were contending in the Jerseys, Walpole 
complained that his life at present consisted in being 
wished joy over the defeat and slaughter of fellow- 
countrymen, who were fighting for his liberty as well 
as for their own. Thirty months afterwards he spoke 
still more gloomily. It was bad enough, (he said,) to 

^ The manuscript, which is in Mr. Burke's handwriting, is thus dock- 
eted by the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam ; " Probably this was intended as an 
amendment to the Address to be moved after the campaign of 1776." In 
that case, the paper must have been drafted at the precise point of time 
which this narrative has now reached. 


be at war with France and Spain because we would not 
be content to let America send us half the wealth of 
the world in her own way, instead of in the way that 
pleased George Grenville and Charles Townshend. But 
the subversion of a happy Constitution, by the hands of 
domestic enemies, was a worse fate than any which we 
could suffer from the foreigner ; and that fate, unless 
the nation recovered its senses, only too surely awaited 
us. Walpole emphatically declared that the freedom of 
England had become endangered, and her glory began 
to decline, from the moment that she " ran wild after a 
phantasm of absolute power " over colonies whose liberty 
was the source of her own greatness.^ 

It was an ominous circumstance that the Jacobites 
and the Nonjurors were open-mouthed against America, 
and, one and all, were ardent supporters of the war. 
The members of that party, which professed the doctrine 
of passive obedience, had transferred their allegiance 
to George the Third, honestly and undisguisedly, from 
the moment that he made manifest his intention to 
select his own ministers and govern for himself. They 
stood by the Court, (as readers of Junius are aware,) 
throughout every turn of the conflict which raged 
around the Middlesex Election. They were frequently 
taunted, in very good prose and extremely poor verse, 
with having deserted the shrine of their ancient loyalty ; 
but the course of action which they adopted was to the 
credit of their common-sense and their consistency. The 
Jacobites of 1775 were not dreamers, nor dilettantes. 
Only half a life-time before that date they had been for- 
midable enough to shake the State to the very founda- 
tion ; and, now that they had suited themselves to their 
altered circumstances, they were a redoubtable party 
again. Men who had been Jacobites in their youth, 
and who were the friends of arbitrary government still, 
constituted a strong minority in the Corporations of 

1 Walpole to the Countess of Ossory, Jan. 26, 1777. Walpole to Sir 
Horace Mann, June 16, 1779; and to the Countess of Ossory, June 22, 


some towns, and a majority among the Justices of the 
Peace on not a few Petty Sessional benches in the 
northern counties. They did not amuse themselves 
with a ritual of wreaths and rosettes, or trouble them- 
selves about the Christian name of the monarch whose 
health they drank. Their creed was a serious and 
genuine devotion to the principles in accord with 
which they thought that the country ought to be ad- 
ministered. If they could not have a Stuart, they were 
willing to accept a Hanoverian who pursued the Stuart 
policy ; and they were quite ready to put their money 
on the White Horse, so long as he galloped in what 
they conceived to be the right direction. When once 
the American war broke out, it became evident to them 
that there were no lengths to which the King was not 
prepared to go : and there were most certainly none 
to which they themselves would not eagerly follow.^ 
Testimony to that effect was given by a witness who 
knew, as well as anybody, what the Jacobites were 
thinking. In one of the last letters which he wrote, 
David Hume, with the solemnity of a dying man, prophe- 
sied that, if the Court carried the day in America, the 
English Constitution would infallibly perish.^ 

Historians, who understand their business, when 
seeking to ascertain the trend of national opinion at 
any crisis in our history, have always laid stress upon 
the confidential reports of foreign emissaries accredited 
to St. James's, and on the conclusions which were 

1 " The Scots address and fight now with as much zeal in the cause of 
the House of Brunswick as they did, during the last reigns, in that of the 
House of Stuart. This proves that it is not the name, but the cause, for 
which they fight. The Scots are in hopes that extinguishing the very 
name of English liberty in America will secure the destruction of the 
constitution in old England. In the present auspicious reign they think 
themselves nearer the completion of their wishes, and are therefore more 
insolent, and more ardent, in the pursuit." Extract from the Gazetteer 
and New Daily Advertiser of 1776. 

2 Histoire de V Action Commune de la France et de P Amerique pour 
V Independance des Atats-Unis, par George Bancroft : Tome III., page 
200. The Paris version of this work is described as "Traduit et aunote 
par le Comte Adolphe de Circourt ; accompagne de Documents Inedits." 


borne in upon the mind of the potentate to whom those 
reports were addressed. Our knowledge of English 
feeling, during the years that preceded our own Great 
Revolution, is largely derived from the secret corre- 
spondence of the French Ambassador at the Court of 
James the Second ; and, in like manner, the correspond- 
ence of the Prussian Minister in London, at the time 
of the Declaration of Independence, throws an impor- 
tant light upon British politics. Indeed, of the two 
diplomatists, Frederic the Great's envoy is the safer 
guide. The Count de Maltzan was better qualified to 
distinguish between material facts, and party gossip, 
than de Barillon, who habitually dabbled in political 
intrigues at Westminster ; and Frederic, in a very differ- 
ent degree from Louis the Fourteenth, was an employer 
to whom it was much less safe to tell a doctored and 
flattering tale than a disagreeable truth. 

Frederic had observed every turn of the constitu- 
tional struggle in England as closely as he watched the 
variation in numbers of the Austrian or Russian armies, 
and with as good cause ; and he now was firmly per- 
suaded that the fears of Burke and Chatham with 
regard to the precarious condition of our public liberty 
were not exaggerated. It might have been supposed 
that the prospect would have left him indifferent ; for 
assuredly he had no desire to set up a Parliamentary 
opposition at Berlin, or convert his own Kingdom into 
a limited monarchy. But he was in the habit of look- 
ing to results ; and, in his eyes, the suitable form of 
government for any country was that, and only that, 
which produced strong and capable administration. 
The England, which Frederic the Great desired to see, 
was an England taking a continuous and intelligent 
interest in Continental movements ; commanding the 
esteem and confidence of her neighbours ; and able, 
with all her enormous resources well in hand, to make 
her influence decisively felt. But, under her then rulers, 
our country was a cipher in Europe ; distracted by 
internal dissension, and spending in a foolish quarrel 


with her own colonies the strength which had so 
recently made her the arbitress of the world, and 
which, — at the rate that she was lavishing men, money, 
and reputation, — might soon be hardly sufficient for 
the protection of her own coasts and arsenals. 

Frederic, moreover, had a special grudge of his own 
against the system of government which had of late 
been inaugurated in England. That nation, under the 
inspiration of Lord Chatham, — the statesman who now 
was the prime assertor of its imperilled liberties, — had 
fought the earlier campaigns of the Seven Years' War 
side by side with Prussia, and had helped her, in her 
dire extremity, with a supply of British gold which was 
only less welcome than the assistance of the British 
sword. But when George the Third ascended the 
throne, and as soon as he could get a minister to his 
mind, he tore up that glorious treaty of alliance ; stopped 
the payment of a subsidy which to the English Treas- 
ury was a pittance, but which seemed a mountain of 
wealth to the thrifty Prussian War Office ; and, in the 
hottest moment of the chase, threw Frederic over to 
the wolves. Those wolves, in the end, found him a 
tough morsel ; but he never even pretended to forget 
that the first overt act of Personal Government in Eng- 
land had been to play him a trick which came very 
near to be his ruin. Detestation of Lord Bute, and of 
Lord Bute's Royal patron, and a very genuine love and 
admiration for Chatham, rendered the Prussian King 
an earnest and far-seeing friend of British constitu- 
tional freedom. If the nation, (such was the tenor of 
his predictions,) allowed the Sovereign to act according 
to his good pleasure, and abandoned the colonies to the 
lot which he destined for them, that lot would sooner or 
later be shared by England ; for the policy of George 
the Third was the same everywhere, and he was pur- 
suing despotic courses in all portions of his dominions. 
** It appears," Frederic wrote, **from all I hear, that the 
ancient British spirit has almost entirely eclipsed itself, 
and that everything tends to a change in the form of 


government, so that the old constitution will exist only 
in the surface, and the nation in effect will be nearer 
slavery than in any preceding reign." ^ 

Those were strong words from a ruler who was an 
autocrat, and who fully purposed to remain one ; but 
the danger which threatened English liberty aroused 
uneasiness in a still more singular quarter than the 
Royal cabinet at Potsdam. Frederic, after all, was at 
peace with our country, although it did not break his 
heart to find her in a scrape ; whereas France was an 
active, and erelong an open, enemy. The French 
Government, sore from recent losses and humiliations, 
greeted with delight the rebellion of our colonists ; 
supplied them almost from the first with money and 
mihtary stores ; seized the opportunity of our difficulty 
to declare hostilities, which were prosecuted with what, 
for the French, was unwonted, and even unexampled, 
energy ; and laboured to unite Europe in a coalition 
against the British Empire. And yet there were 
Frenchmen, and many Frenchmen, who never ceased 
to reverence England as a country which held up to 
the contemplation of mankind an example of the ma- 
terial and moral advantages arising from stable and 
rational self-government ; and which, for more than two 
centuries, had been a champion of liberty outside her 
own borders. Their prayer, or, (more strictly speaking,) 
their hope and aspiration, — for advanced thinkers in 
France were not much given to praying, — was that 
England might cease to be forgetful of her high mission, 
and might bethink herself, before it grew too late, that 
in destroying the freedom of others she was striking at 
her own. 

These ideas are reflected in letters addressed to Lord 
Shelburne by the Abbe Morellet when war between 
France and England was already imminent ; and a 
later part of the same correspondence proves that, after 
four years of fierce and dubious fighting, solicitude for 

1 Le Roi Frederic au Comte de Maltzan, 14 aoftt, 1775, (en chiffres ;) 
18 decembre, 1775 ; 26 juin, 1777. 


the honour of our country had not been extinguished in 
the hearts of some generous enemies. The fall of Lord 
North in 1782 was hailed by enlightened Parisians with 
a satisfaction inspired by the most laudable motives. 
They felt joy and reUef because there would be an end 
of bloodshed; because the highest civilisation, of which 
France and England were the chief repositories, would no 
longer be divided against itself ; but above and beyond 
all, because liberty would henceforward be secure in 
the one great country of Europe which was constitu- 
tionally governed. *' Yes, my Lord," cried Morellet, 
**in spite of the war that divides us, I am glad to see 
your country better administered. I rejoice, in my 
quality of citizen of the world, that a great people should 
resume their true place ; should regain a clear view of 
their real interests ; and should employ their resources, 
not in the pursuit of an end which cannot be attained, 
but for the conservation of that wealth and influence 
which are naturally their due, and which, for the sake 
of the world at large, it is all-important that they should 
continue to possess. If the independence of America 
had perished, your constitution would have been over- 
thrown, and your freedom lost." ^ 

Among foreigners who vexed themselves about the 
perils which overhung the British Constitution the 
Whigs in America could no longer be reckoned. As 
the war went forward, and their sacrifices and sufferings 
increased, the colonists, (and none could fairly blame 
them,) took less and less count of the distinction be- 
tween the two political parties at Westminster. They 
regarded Britain as one integral and formidable whole ; 

^ Lettres de VAbbe Morellety de t Academic Fran^aise, a Lord Shel- 
burne, depuis Marquis de Lansdowne, iyy2-j8oj, avec Introduction et 
Notes par Lord Edmond Fitztnaurice : Paris, Librairie Plon, 1898; pages 
no, 189, 191. The passage in the text reproduces the substance of 
Morellet's letter of April 1782, and some of the words ; for the words 
are many. Morellet was a decorative artist of a high order ; an adept in 
dressing up the stern discoveries of British political economists in a shape 
to suit the French taste. When, as in the case before us, he lighted upon 
a subject which admitted of sentiment and emotion, he was not sparing of 
his ornament. 


and the character in which she presented herself at 
their doors was not such as to command their sympathy. 
Charles Fox, and his eloquent and statesmanlike speeches, 
were a long way off ; while General Burgoyne, with his 
Brunswickers and his Red Indians, was very near 
indeed. People who were occupied in striving to repel 
British armies, and in rebuilding towns which British 
fleets had burned, were left with very little leisure to 
interest themselves about the preservation of British 
liberties. But their descendants, who had plenty of 
time to think the matter over, — and who, indeed, in 
the department of history, for many years to come 
thought of very little else, — have gradually arrived at 
the conclusion that, if the resistance of the colonies 
had been overpowered, British and Transatlantic free- 
dom would have perished together. That conclusion is, 
now and again, set forth by living American writers in 
a tone of just pride, and in language worthy of the 
theme. Whatever, (we are told,) may be the spirit of 
the people of the United States to-day, in the eighteenth 
century the people of the colonies were English to the 
heart's core. Ever since the new reign began, they 
had noticed, with growing anxiety, the determination of 
George the Third to undermine and overthrow the 
old English structure of genuine national self-govern- 
ment, and real ministerial responsibility. The English- 
men in America rebelled the first, because they were 
the first to feel the full force of the assault upon liberty. 
Their Revolution was not an uprising against England, 
or the English people, or the English Constitution. It 
was a defensive movement, undertaken in behalf of 
essential English institutions, against the purpose and 
effort of a monarch to defeat the political progress of 
the race, and to turn back the hands of time so that 
they might mark again the dreary hour before Parlia- 
ment had delivered us from the Stuarts.^ 

^ Article by Henry Loomis Nelson, in the New York Journal Literature 
of March 31, 1899. 



Such, in the deliberate judgement of a succeeding 
generation, was the aspect of the situation in England 
during the earlier years of the American war ; and such 
it then seemed to Frenchmen who watched our politics 
from the safe side of the Channel. It was an aspect 
necessarily most alarming to contemporary Englishmen 
who foresaw that the free institutions of their own 
country might erelong be exposed to a final and suc- 
cessful assault ; and who were conscious of being too 
high-spirited and stout-hearted to shrink, when the day 
of trial came, from doing their utmost in defence of 
freedom, however ruinous might be the penalty to 
themselves and their families. Those anticipations 
saddened their lives, inspired their public action, and 
coloured their written and spoken confidences. The 
Duke of Richmond was a senator of long experience, 
a man of the world, and a great peer with an enormous 
stake in the country ; his private letters are serious 
documents of grave authority ; and those letters supply 
posterity with a sample of what was thought and feared 
by many thousands of humbler, but not less honest and 
patriotic, people. 

In August 1776, — on the day, as it happened, that 
Howe began to move against the American lines in 
Long Island, — Richmond wrote to Edmund Burke at 
great length from Paris. The Duke had repaired to 
France, for the purpose of looking after his hereditary 
estate in that country, and of making good his claim to 
the Dukedom of Aubigny. That proved a burdensome 
undertaking ; for the grant of a peerage, in order to be 
valid, required to be registered by the Parliament of 
Paris ; and, in the Parliament of Paris, nothing was to 
be had for nothing. Richmond complained that, " be- 
sides the real business itself, the visits, formalities, 
solicitations, dinners, suppers," and all the rest of the 
machinery for bringing influence to bear upon every 
individual concerned, were infinitely wearisome and 
costly. And yet all the expense of time, trouble, and 
money was, in his estimation, very well laid out; be- 


cause, although things were ill managed in France, cir- 
cumstances might arise when it would be impossible for 
him to reside at his English home. "Who knows," 
wrote Richmond, "that a time may not come when a 
retreat to this country may not be a happy thing to 
have ? We now hold our liberties merely by the mag- 
nanimity of the best of kings, who will not make use of 
the opportunity he has to seize them ; for he has it in 
his power, with the greatest ease and quiet, to imitate 
the King of Sweden.^ I have not the least doubt but 
that his faithful peers and commons would by degrees, 
— or at once if he liked it better, — vote him complete 
despotism. I fear I see the time approaching when the 
English, after having been guilty of every kind of 
meanness and corruption, will at last own themselves, 
like the Swedes, unworthy to be free. When that day 
comes, our situation will be worse than France. Young 
despotism, like a boy broke loose from school, will 
indulge itself in every excess. Besides, if there is a 
contest, though it be a feeble one, I, or mine, may be 
among the proscribed. If such an event should happen, 
and America not be open to receive us, France is some 
retreat, and a peerage here is something." 

British opinion was never unanimous at any stage of 
the American war ; but in what proportion that opinion 
was divided it is impossible to determine at the distance 
of a hundred and thirty years. Men of practical expe- 
rience in politics turn sceptical when told very positively 
what " the country " thinks with regard to a question 
even of their own day, and are inclined to ask their 
informant how large a part of the country has taken 
him into its confidence. Historians, who have tried to 
gauge the feeling of our ancestors during the struggle 
with America, have often paid far too much respect to 

1 Gustavus the Third had recently subverted the Constitution in 
Sweden ; not without excuses which were altogether wanting to George 
the Third when he devised his scheme of Personal Government. 

M 2 


the hasty generalisations of sanguine, or of despondent, 
partisans. All those who sturdily push their way 
through the thickets of that ancient controversy find 
such fruit growing in profusion on every bush. A 
Whig in Devonshire wrote out to Philadelphia that the 
whole nation was mad, and that he could scarcely meet 
one man in twenty who did not wish to see Great Britain, 
and himself, bankrupt rather than not bring the colonies 
to the feet of Lord George Germaine. John Wesley, 
on the other hand, while heartily agreeing that the 
nation was mad, gave as a proof of it that a great 
majority of Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen were 
exasperated almost to insanity against the King and the 
King's policy. Anything may be proved on either side 
by a judicious selection of individual utterances that 
were made in all good faith, but too frequently from 
very imperfect knowledge. More profitable results are 
to be obtained by minute observation of certain facts 
and circumstances which are beyond dispute ; and the 
significance of which can be tested by those who, 
whenever the England of their own lifetime has passed 
through a period of warlike excitement, have kept their 
eyes open to what went on around them. Twice in the 
memory of men over sixty years of age, and once at 
least in the experience of everyone who reads these 
volumes, Britain has been engaged in a war on which 
the interest of the nation was eagerly concentrated. 
All who have noted the features and incidents of the 
Crimean war, and the Transvaal war, — and who have 
studied the parallel features and incidents of the years 
which elapsed between 1774 and 1782, — may estimate 
for themselves whether the American war, as wars go, 
was popular or not. 

Before commencing that inquiry, there is one pre- 
liminary remark which, on the face of the matter, it is 
permissible to make. The House of Commons, at the 
last, with the warm and very general approbation of 
the country, put a stop to hostilities, and recognised the 
independence of America. The British nation had been 


tried in the fire before then, and has been tried since ; 
and it has never been the national custom to back out 
of a just quarrel for no other reason than because 
Britain, at a given moment, was getting the worst of it. 
In 1782 our people solemnly and deliberately abandoned 
the attempt to reconquer America on the ground that 
it was both wrong and foolish ; and that fact, to the 
mind of everyone who holds the British character in 
esteem, affords an irresistible proof that a very large 
section of the people must all along have been fully 
persuaded that the coercion of our colonists by arms 
was neither wise nor righteous. 

The surest criterion of the popularity attaching to a 
warlike policy is afforded by the prevailing tone and 
tendency of the public journals. So long as a people 
have their hearts in a contest, newspapers which oppose 
the war are few, and for the most part, timid ; while 
the newspapers which support the war are numerous 
and thriving, and very seldom err by an excess of toler- 
ance when dealing either with critics at home, or with 
adversaries abroad. Books or pamphlets, however large 
their number, do not supply an equally important test 
of national opinion. For on the one hand, it is notorious 
that Ministers of State in the eighteenth century were 
in the habit of paying an author to defend them and 
their proceedings ; and, on the other hand, a man who, 
from public spirit or private spite, is opposed to a Gov- 
ernment, thinks little of spending ten or twenty pounds 
in order that his fellow-citizens should be able to peruse 
his views in print, however few among them may care 
to avail themselves of the opportunity. But a news- 
paper lives by being read ; and, in the great majority 
of cases, none read it, and still fewer buy it, unless they 
agree with its opinions. The first quarter of a century 
in George the Third's reign was to a marked degree an 
age of newspapers. Whatever good or evil the King 
might have done, he had lent, most unintentionally, an 
extraordinary impulse to the activity and influence of 
public journalism. During the long constitutional agi- 


tation, of which the Middlesex Election was the outward 
and visible symptom, newspapers had played a com- 
manding part. They had multiplied in number ; they 
had grown in size; they had perfected themselves in 
the art of producing matter acceptable to their readers ; 
and they had greatly increased their circulation. Be- 
tween 1760 and 1775 the stamps issued by the Treasury 
had risen, from less than nine and a half, to consider- 
ably over twelve and a half, millions a year. In 1776, 
— after some experience of a war conducted beneath the 
eyes of a vigilant press, — the Cabinet, needing money 
much and loving newspapers but little, raised the stamp 
duty to the amount of three halfpence on every half 
sheet. Still the sale went upwards ; and it was not 
until Lord North retired from office, and the long argu- 
ment between the Crown and the people was thereby 
concluded, that the growing demand for newspaper 
stamps began to flag, and at length actually fell. 

Among London newspapers the largest, the most 
attractive, and quite incomparably the most in request, 
were opposed to the American policy of the Cabinet. 
The " North Briton," indeed, was no longer in existence. 
Number Forty-five, the dearest scrap of printed matter 
on record, — for it cost the Government, soon or late, 
a hundred thousand pounds to suppress it, — had been 
burned by the common hangman amid public excitement 
so vehement that the hangman himself was with diffi- 
culty saved from being burned as well. But a whole 
covey of Phoenixes rose from its ashes, eager to avenge 
their defunct predecessor with beak and talon. The 
London " Evening Post," the " Public Advertiser," the 
" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser," and the 
"Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser," gave the Court 
and the Bedfords superabundant cause to regret that 
they had not left Wilkes and his newspaper alone. 

Most of the leading journals, mindful of their origin, 
were careful to insert the time-honoured name of ** Ad- 
vertiser" in some corner of their title. They had com- 
menced existence as advertising sheets, containing little 


news and less politics.^ But it was far otherwise with 
the imposing pages which, on every other morning dur- 
ing every week that the American war lasted, came rus- 
tling forth from the London presses. They did not 
altogether disdain to inform the world where purchasers 
might hear of desirable house-property, and seasoned 
hunters, and drafts of fox-hound puppies, and pectoral 
lozenges for defluxions, and Analeptic Pills for gout, and 
CathoHc Pills for everything ; but they devoted very much 
the larger part of their ample space to more flaming and 
fascinating topics. Their varied columns teemed with 
news which could not be found in the '' London Gazette," 
and which the Ministry had frequently the strongest 
personal reasons for concealing. In communicated 
articles ; in spicy paragraphs : in epistles of inordinate 
length, signed by old Roman names of the Republican 
era, — they flagellated the Prime Minister and every one 
of his colleagues, and denounced him for having begun 
an unjust war which he was totally incompetent to 

The " Morning Post and Daily Advertiser " had been 
converted into a ministerial paper by Henry Bate, the 
editor. Bate was a clergyman by profession, and was 
reasonably enough viewed in Whig circles as one who 
did not rise to the obligations of his sacred calling ; for 
very eminent Tories, in his own day and afterwards, 
have admitted that at this period of his career he was 
nothing better than a bully and a ruffian. Dr. Johnson, 
who fought for his Sovereign's policy strenuously, and 
even fiercely, but who always fought fair, spoke of Bate 
with scathing reprobation ; and Mr. Croker, who had 
no Whig prejudices, has written an account of the young 
man's performances which confirms Johnson's strictures 
upon his character.^ If we except the damaging advo- 

1 Chapter vii. of English Newspapers, by H. R. P'ox-Bourne; London, 


2 " Sir," said Johnson, " I will not allow this man to have merit. No, 
Sir ; what he has is rather the contrary. I will, indeed, allow him cour- 
age ; and on this account we so far give him credit. We have more respect 
for a man who robs boldly on the highway than for a fellow who jumps 


cacy of the " Morning Post," and the official sterility 
of the ** London Gazette," Ministers had not much for 
which to thank the newspapers. The Httle " London 
Chronicle," a square foot in size, treated them with a 
friendliness tempered by its abhorrence of Lord Bute 
and the Scotch, whom, (like English mankind in gen- 
eral,) it persisted in regarding as the secret inspirers of 
George the Third and his Cabinet. The ** Public Ledger " 
announced itself as a political commercial paper, open to 
all parties and influenced by none ; and it bestowed on 
Lord North an occasional word of praise, accompanied 
by much good advice which he seldom heeded. And 
yet even the ** Ledger " excused the American invasion 
of Canada as a step to which the colonists had been 
driven in self-defence. There were journals which, while 
they disapproved the war, still continued to speak well 
of the Government ; but in the whole circuit of the Lon- 
don Press no newspaper could be found which adopted 
the line of being in opposition to the Government, but 
in favour of the war. 

In estimating the balance of British opinion during 
the American Revolution great importance must be at- 
tached to the views expressed by the newspapers ; but 
not less significant was the impunity with which those 
views were given to the world. It has happened more 
than once that an Administration, already on the decline, 
has become powerful and popular when a war broke out, 
and has retained its advantage so long as that war en- 
dured ; and, under the Georges, an accession of strength, 

out of a ditch, and knocks you down behind your back. Courage is a 
quality so necessary for maintaining virtue that it is always respected, even 
when it is associated with vice." 

This left-handed compliment, — the best that was to be said for Bate, — 
is to be found in the seventy-ninth chapter of Boswell's Life of Johnson^ 
as edited by the Right Honourable John Wilson Croker. Croker gives a 
short narrative of Bate's proceedings in a note subjoined to the passage. 
To the end of his days, which were many, " Parson Bate " was a famous 
patron of the prize-ring; and his prowess had been tested in many chance en- 
counters. His admirers assure us that the professionals were much relieved 
by his refusal to step inside the ropes. Late in life he was made a Baronet 
To such base use did that ancient, but unfortunate, order come at last. 


and of public favour, meant a great deal more to a Gov- 
ernment than it means now. A war ministry then, which 
had the country with it, was terribly formidable to poli- 
tical opponents at home. It might have seemed likely 
that, after the colonists had recourse to arms, journalists 
and pamphleteers who went counter to the royal policy 
would soon have, a very bad time in England ; but exactly 
the opposite result ensued. During the first fourteen 
years of George the Third, the ministerial censorship of 
the Press had been continuous, inquisitorial, and harsh 
almost to barbarity. The most exalted magistrates had 
placed themselves at the service of the executive with 
culpable facility; not for the first time in our history. 
Roger North, in his picturesque and instructive family 
biographies, reports how, throughout the civil dissen- 
sions of the seventeenth century, the time of the King's 
Bench was taken up with factious contentions ; and he 
speaks of that Court as a place where more news than 
law was stirring. The law, as there laid down by Lord 
Mansfield in 1763, was fraught with grave consequences 
to all men who gained their livelihood by writing copy, 
or by setting up type. Informations began to rain like 
hail upon authors, editors, publishers, and printers. 
Crushing fines, protracted terms of imprisonment, and 
the open shame of the pillory, were, for several years to 
come, the portion of those who criticised the Cabinet in 
earnest. Their plight would have been hopeless if they 
had not sometimes found a refuge in the Common Pleas, 
where the president of the tribunal was Lord Chief Jus- 
tice Pratt ; who subsequently in the House of Peers, as 
Lord Camden, ably supported Lord Chatham's endeav- 
ours to reconcile Great Britain and America. Pratt, 
acting in the true spirit of the law wherever liberty was 
at hazard, and audaciously advancing the limits of his 
own jurisdiction when he otherwise could not rescue a 
victim, nobly vindicated the ancient reputation of his 
Court.^ As time went on, the ministerial majority in the 

1 "The parties aggrieved," (so Lord Campbell writes,) "avoided the 
Court of King's Bench, and sought redress in the Court of Common Pleas 


House of Commons joined in the hunt ; and Parliamen- 
tary Privilege, which had been devised for the protection 
of freedom, was perverted, amid scenes of scandalous 
uproar and irregularity, into an engine of tyranny.^ 

Ministers who had pursued such courses in a time 
of peace, — when they could not excuse their arbitrary 
measures by the plea of national danger, or the neces- 
sity for preserving an appearance of national unanimity, 
— might have been expected, when a war was raging, 
to have strained and over-ridden legality more unscru- 
pulously than ever for the purpose of paying out old 
scores, and repressing fresh ebullitions of hostile criti- 
cism. But, though the clamour against the King and 
his ministers waxed ever more shrill and more pertina- 
cious, the censorship seemed to have lost its nerve, and 
the Opposition press went forward on its boisterous 
way unmenaced and almost unmolested. Political trials 
became infrequent, and, after a while, ceased.^ The 
voice of the Attorney-General calling for vengeance, — 
now upon grave constitutional essayists, or vehement 
champions of freedom ; now upon some miserable book- 
seller's hack, and the compositors who had deciphered 
and printed his lucubrations, — was hushed and silent. 

from the Lord Chief Justice Pratt. He liberated Wilkes from the Tower 
on the ground of parliamentary privilege ; and, declaring general warrants 
to be illegal, he obtained from juries very heavy damages for those who 
had been arrested, and whose papers had been seized, on the suspicion 
that they were concerned in prmting, and publishing, the number of the 
A^orth Briton which had been singled out for prosecution." Life of Lord 
Mansfield, chapter xxxvi. 

Roger North's discriminating praise of the Common Pleas under the 
Stuart dynasty is sanctioned by what was then the highest known 
authority. "As the Lord Nottingham in one of his speeches expresseth, 
The law is there at home." 

^ The excesses into which Parliament was betrayed during those evil 
years, and the zest with which Fox lerl the riot within its walls, at an age 
when he ought to have been taking his degree at Oxford, may be seen in 
the fifthj sixth, and ninth chapters of the Early History of Charles James 

2 John Home Tooke's trial, on a charge of seditious libel connected 
with the American controversy, took place as early as the second year of 
the war. His conviction injured the Ministry much more than it alarmed 
the Press. 


Men wrote what they thought and felt, in such terms as 
their indignation prompted and their taste permitted. 
However crude and violent might be the language in 
which the newspapers couched their invectives, the legal 
advisers of the Government, when it came to a question 
of prosecution, were awed and scared by the conscious- 
ness that there existed immense multitudes of people 
for whom diatribes against the Court and the Cabinet 
could not be too highly flavoured. Absolute liberty of 
discussion thenceforward prevailed ; but, to the honour 
of English fairness, there was no immunity for gross 
slander. In the case of a false and foul charge, brought 
against a public man of either party, our tribunals 
showed themselves ready, according to the racy old 
judicial phrase, to lay a lying knave by the heels. The 
"Morning Post," in 1780, accused the Duke of Rich- 
mond of treasonable communication with the French 
Government. But that statesman's display of kindli- 
ness towards British colonists, who would still have 
been the Duke's fellow-subjects but for an insane policy 
which he himself had consistently opposed, was no 
proof of guilty sympathy with a foreign enemy in the 
view of British jurymen. Nor were they disposed to 
overlook a flagrant insult offered to one of the real 
heroes of Minden, in order to gratify politicians who 
were not ashamed of sitting in the same Cabinet with 
Lord George Sackville. Bate was found guilty, and 
was incarcerated for a twelvemonth. 

The exemption from maltreatment which Opposition 
publicists enjoyed was certainly not purchased by their 
own moderation or discretion. They wrote in a strain, 
sometimes of jovial impudence ; sometimes of power- 
fully reasoned, and withering, animadversion ; and their 
swoop was never so direct and savage as when they 
flew at the highest game. In the " North Briton " of 
the twenty -third of April 1763, Wilkes had commented 
on a King's Speech in terms very uncomplimentary to 
the Cabinet, but, wherever the King was mentioned, in 
decent and measured phrases. While the Speech was 


pronounced to be the most abandoned instance of official 
effrontery ever attempted to be imposed on mankind, 
it was expressly declared to be the production of un- 
principled Ministers, which in a weak moment had been 
adopted as his own by a gracious King. At a later time 
in the annals of journalism, an amiable votary of litera- 
ture, — whose virtues and weaknesses had rendered him 
harmless to everybody except himself, — applied to the 
Prince Regent a jeering epithet which any man of com- 
mon sense, on the throne or near it, would have read 
with a contemptuous smile, and dismissed from his 
memory. And yet Leigh Hunt was heavily fined, and 
imprisoned for twenty-four months; and George the 
Third, during ten consecutive years, tried so hard to 
ruin Wilkes that, in the course of his operations, he. 
came unpleasantly near to upsetting his own throne. 
The promptness and rigour with which attacks upon 
royalty were punished both before and since, — as com- 
pared to the boundless license which was permitted at 
that epoch when the sovereign stood before the nation 
as a prime instigator, and a resolute supporter, of the 
American war, — may be taken as a measure of the dis- 
taste which that war then inspired in a very great number 
of Englishmen. 

From 1775 onward the newspapers went straight 
for the King. The Empire, (they declared,) was under 
the direction of a bigoted and vindictive prince, whose 
administration was odious and corrupt in every part : 
so that the struggles of a handful of his subjects, made 
furious by oppression, had proclaimed the weakness of 
that Empire to the world. Those precise words were 
printed at the beginning of 1776; and towards the end 
of the year a Christian Soldier addressed George the 
Third in a sermon of a couple of columns, headed by the 
first seven verses of the Sixth Chapter in the Wisdom 
of Solomon. The denunciation against wicked rulers, 
which those verses contain, was a sufficient sermon in 
itself ; but the preacher did not shrink from the duty of 
pressing his text home. " Have you not," he asked the 


King, " called your own pretensions the necessity of the 
State ? Have you chosen for your Ministers and Coun- 
sellors men of the greatest piety, courage, and under- 
standing ? Have you not dreaded to have such around 
you, because they would not flatter you, and would 
oppose your unjust passions and your misbecoming 
designs ? " And so the argument continued through 
a score of interrogatives, any one of which, five years 
before, or ten years before, would have sent the author, 
and his printer, and the printer's devils as well, to think 
out the answer to that string of irreverent queries in the 
solitude of Newgate. 

Whenever the Ministry was mentioned in connection 
with the King, it was not for the purpose of shielding 
him from responsibility, but in order to upbraid him for 
having entrusted the government of the country to such 
a pack of reprobates. There could not, according to 
one journalist, be anything more unfortunate for a 
nation than for its Prince not to have one honest man 
about him. "Americans," wrote another, **are totally 
indifferent about every change of Ministers which may 
happen in the Court system. They care not who comes 
in. They know that a change of men implies nothing 
more than knaves succeeding to that power which 
former knaves were fools enough to abuse." The rea- 
son why England had come to be ruled by fools and 
knaves was illustrated by an historical anecdote duly 
pointed with italics. ** Mr. Waller, the celebrated poet, 
being in the Closet with James the Second one day, the 
King asked him how he liked a picture of the Princess 
of Orange. * I think,' says Waller, * she is very like the 
greatest woman in the world.' * Whom do you call so } ' 
said the King. ' Queen Elizabeth,' replied the other. 
*I wonder, Mr. Waller,' said the King, 'you should think 
so, as Queen Elizabeth owed all her greatness to the 
wisdom of her Council.' * And pray, sir^ says Waller, 
* did you ever know a fool chuse a wise one f " 1 

1 The London Evening Post of Saturday, September 27, to Tuesday, 
September 30, 1777. 


These passages are a small nosegay of specimens 
culled from a vast, and not always fragrant, garden. 
Caradoc, and Britannicus, and Publius, and Ximenes, 
and Eumenes, and A True Whig, and A Friend to 
Liberty, were often drearily long-winded, and some- 
times unconscionably violent ; and yet many thousands 
of our forefathers read their effusions with solemn satis- 
faction, and never wished them shorter by a sentence, 
or less strong by a single superlative. Even where an 
assailant of the King had the grace to veil his attack 
beneath a guise of irony, he always took good care to 
make his meaning obvious. Before the winter Session 
of 1776, a contributor to a newspaper, signing himself 
"Aratus," was at the pains to compose an imaginary 
Speech from the throne. " My Lords and Gentlemen," 
(so George the Third was represented as saying,) "since 
the whole world knows how I have been deceived, I 
have chosen in this public manner to declare that I am 
now sensible of the errors into which I have been led by 
evil counsellors. I glory in avowing the disposition of 
my heart; and, convinced of the generosity and mag- 
nanimity of my people, I know they will approve my 
candour. I have no doubt that they will soon reduce 
France and Spain to peace, if they should dare to 
draw the sword against me. An English monarch 
must always be triumphant when he reigns in the heart 
of his people." 

Odes, as Pindaric as a poet of the antechamber 
could make them, had long been considered by the 
French and English Courts to be the appropriate form 
in which literary incense should be burned before Kings. 
But George the Third very early learned, — what Louis 
the Great, to the grievous hurt of his dignity, had been 
taught by no less skilful a master than Matthew Prior, ^ 

1 "Prior burlesqued, with admirable spirit and pleasantry, the bom- 
bastic verses in which Boileau had celebrated the first taking of Namur. 
The two odes, printed side by side, were read with delight in London ; 
and the critics at Will's pronounced that, in wit as in arms, England had 
been victorious." Macaulay's History of England; chapter xxi. 


— that poetry, and official poetry above any, presents a 
temptation which an idle and malicious humourist finds 
it impossible to withstand. Regularly as Whitehead's 
New Year ode, and Birthday ode, were laid on the 
bookseller's counter, the whole tribe of scribblers betook 
themselves with never-failing relish to the work of 
parody. Opposition newspapers, all through the 
months of January and June, regaled their subscribers 
with interminable files of halting stanzas. In case the 
Laureate died, there was only too evidently a large 
supply of bards who, if they consented to change their 
political opinions, had every intellectual qualification for 
succeeding him. Everything which could be said for 
or against the King, and the King's Friends, and the 
King's Ministers, found its way into the strophes and 
antistrophes with which the town was deluged ; and in 
that Amoebean contest it is hard to pronounce whether 
panegyrists, or detractors, of Royalty were the sorriest 
rhymers.^ The Court ode, a sickly and unnatural 
species of composition from the very first, — whether 
original, or under the handling of a satirical imitator, — 
became positively nauseous from endless reiteration. 

Incidents not unfrequently occurred which inspired 
more forcible writers with verses less unreadable, but 
often grossly and extravagantly unfair. The King was 

1 " So firm withal, he's fixed as Fate. 
"When once resolved, at any rate 

He'll stick to his opinions ; 
And, nobly scorning to be crossed, 
Has most magnanimously lost 

Three parts of his dominions. 

How blest the men he condescends 
To honour with the name of Friends ! 

Where steadier could he choose him ? 
For, from my conscience I believe, 
'Tis not in nature to conceive 

The service they'll refuse him." 

These are the most presentable lines which can be discovered among 
the parodies on the Birthday Ode of 1776. 


said to have been in the Royal box at the theatre when 
the report of a sanguinary battle reached London. 

"At the play when the news of the slaughter arrived! 
What! Pray is the ghost of old Nero revived? 
A Caesar to grin at a Foote or Macheath, 
While perhaps his own armies are bleeding to death! 

An empire disjoined and a continent lost! 
The zeal of her children converted to hate, 
And the death of the parent involved in its fate; 
Her treasures exhausted, her consequence broke, 
Her credit a jest, and her terrors a joke ! " 

Those were the circumstances, (so Englishmen were 
bidden to observe,) under which poor George the Third, 
the most laborious and self-denying of pubHc servants, 
had ventured forth for a much needed evening out. 
Such a theory of what propriety demanded constituted 
a very extensive interference with the King's recrea- 
tions ; for the time was at hand when never a day 
elapsed that some one, in some quarter of the globe, 
was not being killed in a war which, after the winter 
of 1777, the monarch kept afoot by his own personal 
influence against the very general wish of his people, and 
the judgement of all prudent members of his Cabinet. 

In spite of some excesses, absurdities, and affecta- 
tions, the best newspapers did much to maintain at a 
high level the character of the British Press. The con- 
duct of the war by both belligerents was narrowly 
watched, and was criticised from week to week in out- 
spoken prose not open to the charge of being either 
trivial or calumnious. There were grave and excellent 
writers who constituted themselves the guardians of their 
countrymen's honour, on whichever side of the quarrel 
those countrymen fought. They censured the arm- 
ing of savages by the British War Office, and the 
burning of defenceless towns by British frigates ; but 
they protested, with as warm disapproval, when the 
printing establishment of James Rivington, the New 


York Loyalist, was sacked by a mob of Whig raiders 
from Connecticut, and when insults were offered at Phil- 
adelphia to Quakers whose scruples would not allow 
them to take service against the Crown. Newspapers 
never shrank from expressing an opinion beforehand 
about strategical operations of the Government ; and 
few were the instances where Lord George Germaine 
ultimately proved to be in the right, and the news- 
papers in the wrong. That most illogical test of 
patriotism which has been insisted upon by unwise 
rulers, and their flatterers, from the days of Ahab and 
Micaiah the son of Imlah downwards,^ had no terrors 
for Englishmen of a vigorous and valiant generation ; 
and very small attention was paid to ministerial partisans 
who brought charges of disloyalty against a military 
critic because he would not prophesy pleasant things. 

The Opposition newswriters, when the event showed 
their anticipations of failure to have been accurate, 
were bold to point the moral. **Who were they who 
brought His Majesty's army into a place from which it 
was a triumph to escape .'* If Boston was not a spot 
worth defending for its own sake, why did the troops 
continue there for near two years } Why were they 
reinforced until they amounted to near twelve thousand 
men t Why were four generals sent to command them ? 
Why was the Ordnance Office emptied to defend 
Boston } Why was the Sinking Fund swallowed up } 
Why were sixty thousand tons of transports employed 
in that service } Why was the nation almost starved 
to feed that town.'* Why was so much brave blood 
shed at Bunker's Hill } " ^ These are questions which 
have never yet received an answer. 

When, in January 1777, Howe was forced to aban- 
don the Jerseys, and confine himself to the neighbour- 

1 First Kings, chapter xxii., verses i to 38. " And the messenger, 
that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the 
words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth : let 
thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that 
which is good." 

2 Letter of Valens; July 11, 1776. 



hood of New York City, those journaHsts who had been 
all along opposed to the expedition were exceedingly 
frank in their comments. They condemned the General 
for his faulty tactics ; and still less did they spare the 
Minister. In making out their case against Lord North 
they appealed to that sound, and not ignoble, principle 
which had inspired the foreign policy of Burleigh and 
of Chatham, and had produced the victories won by 
Drake, and Clive, and Wolfe, and Amherst. On that 
principle the greatness of Britain was founded ; for it 
consisted in the recognition of some reasonable propor- 
tion between the risks and the ex})cnse of hostilities, 
on the one hand, and the importance of the object for 
the sake of which those hostilities were commenced, on 
the other. Was Long Island, (the Opposition publi- 
cists inquired,) worth one fortieth part of what it had 
taken to recover it } If England was to reoccupy the 
whole of the American coast, at the rate it had cost to 
regain Long Island, would the entire landed estate of 
the kingdom, if sold to the best bidder, raise enough to 
pay for that ill-omened conquest } 

A certain sense of comradeship between the two 
great branches of our people, which the war had not 
extinguished, was manifested in the feelings entertained 
by many Englishmen in England towards the Revolu- 
tionary leaders who had displayed energy and courage, 
and particularly towards such as had fallen in battle. 
After the repulse of the Americans before Quebec, 
Montgomery's body, by General Carleton's order, was 
borne into the town with every mark of reverence and 
regret, and buried with military honours. When the 
tidings of his death reached the House of Commons, 
the most powerful orators, not on one side only, praised 
his virtues, and lamented his fate. Burke spoke of him 
with admiration. Lord North acknowledged that he 
was brave, able, and humane, and deplored that those 
generous epithets must be applied to one who had been 
a rebel ; to which Charles Fox retorted that Montgomery 
was a rebel only in the same sense as were the old Par- 


liament men of a hundred years ago, to whom those he 
saw around him owed it that they had a House of Com- 
mons in which to sit. Some ministerial supporters, — 
making the usual contribution to debate of senators who 
are eager to express their view, but afraid to take the 
floor, — greeted the remark with sarcastic laughter ; and 
that laughter brought up Colonel Barre. He had been 
with Montgomery where French bullets were flying, 
and still had one of them embedded in his face ; and, 
(on that occasion, as on others,) when Barre took upon 
himself to rebuke an impertinence, it was not apt to be 
repeated. A leading journal published its report of the 
evening's proceeding in a paragraph edged with deep 
black ; and, to judge by the general tone of the press, 
the same would have been done by other newspapers if 
the idea had occurred to other editors. Close parallels 
were drawn, in divers odes and sonnets, between the 
characters of John Hampden and of Richard Mont- 
gomery, and between the causes in defence of which 
they received their death-wounds. There appeared 
about this time a political pamphlet, thinly disguised as 
a Dialogue of the Dead; — a species of composition 
which had been consummately executed by Lucian 
sixteen centuries ago, and more or less vapidly ever 
since ; until, for the comfort of humanity, in this our 
own century it has at length ceased to be written at all. 
The author of this production, who evidently was a 
staunch partisan of the colonists, professed to relate the 
first interview between Montgomery, and his former 
chief. General Wolfe, when they renewed their friend- 
ship in the Elysian Fields.^ Nor were American sym- 

1 " It is a happy chance for me, brave Wolfe," (so Montgomery began,) 
**to find you alone in this solitary walk; since I may, without being in- 
terrupted, expatiate with you on the unjust contempt you have shown me 
from the day of my arrival in this delightful place." That is very well, 
but not exactly in the style of Lucian. The characters in the discussion, 
besides the two principals, were George Grenville and Charles Townshend; 
as well as David Hume, who strolled out of a shady valley to join in the 
talk, and eventually succeeded in reconciling the whole party. Hume 
had died in August 1776, just in time to take a share in the conversation. 



pathies confined to those who wrote what was intended 
to be perused in the safe seclusion of the study. A 
play, dating from the last French war, and containing 
a graceful and pathetic allusion to the hero who died 
before Quebec, was just then being given in London. 
The passage had been written for Wolfe ; but the theatre 
applied it to Montgomery, "and fairly rocked with 

Washington, from the earliest hour, was handled by 
the London newspapers, and in the talk of London 
society, after a fashion which could hardly have been 
more respectful if his great destinies had already been 
accomplished. Indeed, his treatment by English writ- 
ers and speakers during the war with England is in 
strong contrast to the rough usage which, towards the 
close of his career and in the heats of the French 
Revolution, he frequently experienced from that section 
of his own countrymen who were opposed to his foreign 
policy. " General Washington," wrote a London jour- 
nalist in January 1776, ''has so much martial dignity in 
his deportment that you would distinguish him to be 
a General and a Soldier among ten thousand people. 
There is not a king in Europe but would look like a 
valet-de-chambre by his side." A still more solid com- 
pliment was paid to him by Lord Chatham, who knew 
well how to address a practical-minded ParHament which 
commences business every day by petitioning that its 
monarch may be permitted in health and wealth long 
to live. ** Mr. Washington," said Chatham in the House 
of Lords, " who now commands what is called this night 
the rebel force, is worth five thousand pounds a year." ^ 

The American officer who, at this period of the strug- 
gle, had especially caught the fancy of Englishmen, was 
Benedict Arnold. His dash and fire, his hairbreadth 
escapes, the stories which were afloat about his rollick- 
ing and masterful demeanour, his cheerfulness in defeat, 
— and, above all, (for so Englishmen are made,) his hard- 

^ Debate on the Address in the House of Lords ; Thursday, Nov. 20, 


won successes, — commended him to a people which, 
next to a trusty servant, loves a gallant enemy. His 
picture was in shop-windows, and on the walls of many 
private rooms. Since it was pretty clear that the wound 
which would keep him quiet was not known to surgery, 
men prayed that he might be captured and brought a 
prisoner to England ; but they would have been sin- 
cerely sorry if he had been carried off by death. 
One of the most severe, and, (if such a supremacy 
were possible,) quite the worst-rhymed, of all the con- 
temporary pasquinades was addressed to ** the partial 
paragraphist of the Gazette who, after being obliged to 
recount Colonel Arnold's rapid march, and his bravery 
and conduct, thought fit to obscure his merit by calling 
him *one Arnold.'" Resentment against the carping 
and jealous attitude of his own Government, — which 
rankled in Arnold's heart, and at last impelled him to 
his undoing, — was pointed and intensified by a know- 
ledge that his martial qualities were cordially appreciated 
by that British adversary who had so thoroughly tested 
them in the field. 

However large might be the number of our country- 
men who could not bring themselves to hate Americans, 
there was one nation, closer at hand, which the great 
mass of Englishmen made no pretence whatever of 
loving. The permanent, no less than the ephemeral, 
literature produced during the first twenty-five years of 
George the Third's reign was pervaded, to an extent 
unpleasant and even scandalous, by the animosity with 
which his subjects south of Tweed regarded his subjects 
who had been born, but were not content to live, north 
of that river. Englishmen had some excuse for their 
prejudice against Scotchmen, if, only they had indulged 
it in moderation. Twice in human memory our borders 
had been penetrated, and our capital threatened, by a 
host of armed mountaineers ; and those warriors, what- 
ever romantic attributes they may possess in the imagi- 
nation of posterity, most certainly did not impress their 


contemporaries as the sort of people by whom a highly 
civilised society would willingly be conquered and over 
run. In 171 5 a handful of Highlanders, with some 
Northumberland fox-hunters for cavalry, had advanced 
half-way through Lancashire before they were sur- 
rounded and destroyed ; and, thirty years later, several 
thousand clansmen had marched to Derby, and had 
given the Londoners a fright from which not a few 
worthy citizens never entirely recovered. 

But the Englishmen of 1776 had no need to sharpen 
their hatred of the Scotch by repeating to each other 
old stories which they had heard from their fathers and 
grandfathers. They themselves had experienced the 
calamities and humiliations of a third invasion ; and 
this time the army of occupation had arrived to stay. 
As soon as Lord Bute was Prime Minister, he summoned 
southward, (beginning, but by no means ending, with 
his own kinsmen and retainers,) a multitude of com- 
patriots to partake of his good fortune. An assaulting 
force, which is active and enterprising, is always esti- 
mated above its real numerical strength by the party 
of defence. Pensions, and patent places, and Court 
offices with quaint titles and easy salaries, — in the 
view of that English governing class whose perquisite 
they hitherto had been, — seemed fast becoming the 
monopoly of North British peers and North British 
members of Parliament. The sight was all the more 
vexatious because a Scotchman of family found means 
to save money, and to buy land, from the proceeds of 
an office with the aid of which an English nobleman 
thought himself fortunate if he could keep the bailiffs 
out of his town-house, without even contemplating the 
possibility of paying off a farthing of the mortgages 
on his country estate. Untitled Scotchmen, meanwhile, 
abounded in the army, in the navy, in the Government 
departments, and in India and the colonies. Wherever 
they might be stationed, they did their work admirably, 
and, (instead of paying a deputy,) made a point of 
doing it themselves. Idle Englishmen of fashion saw 


with dismay that sinecures, the reversion of which they 
held or hoped for, in the hands of Scotch occupants 
were sinecures no longer ; but, in despite of their 
industry and public spirit, their shrewdness and fru- 
gality, — and even, it is to be feared, all the more on 
account of those qualities, — the fellow-countrymen of 
Lord Bute met with the very reverse of gratitude from 
the nation which they served.^ 

Although thirteen long and eventful years had 
elapsed since Bute vacated office in 1763, he was still 
the fertile theme of gossip and suspicion. He had, indeed, 
been far from a popular minister when he stood openly 
at the sovereign's elbow as chief adviser and prime 
favourite ; but he was not less detested, and much more 
feared, now that he was supposed, most erroneously 
and absurdly, to be manipulating the wires from 
behind the curtains of the throne. It may be doubted 
whether public opinion has ever been more profoundly 
affected by a more general and persistent illusion than 
in the case of the belief that Lord Bute was a motive 
power of George the Third's policy all the while that 
the American troubles were brewing, and as long 
as the war lasted. The Princess Dowager had died 
several years before a shot was fired ; and the last re- 
mains of her old friend's political influence had died 
with her.2 And yet the legend of an Interior Cabinet 

^ The prevalence of these unamiable sentiments is amusingly illustrated 
by a conversation, the printed report of which remains to all time the very 
model of artistic treatment. When Johnson and Wilkes, approaching each 
other from the Antipodes of political opinion, met first at Mr. Dilly's table, 
a topic had to be found about which they were both agreed, and on which 
they both were known to talk their very best. By common consent, and 
with all the greater zest because it was a Scotchman who had brought 
them together, they at once fell to work against the Scotch. 

2 In July 1778 George the Third wrote to Lord North about the rumour 
of a political negotiation between the Earl of Chatham and the Earl of 
Bute. " I have read the narrative," (His Majesty said,) " of what passed 
between Sir James Wright and Dr. Addington, and am fully convinced 
of what I suspected before, that the two old Earls, like old coachmen, 
still loved the smack of the whip." Those were the terms in which the 
King referred to Lord Bute at a time when, according to Whig news- 
papers, that nobleman was omnipotent in the secret counsels of the State. 


at Buckingham House, where Bute had the first and the 
last word in ev^ery consultation, and where discussions 
were conducted in a jargon unintelligible to Southron 
Privy Councillors, was an established article of faith 
with the majority of patriotic Englishmen. Every 
odious measure, and every unexpected and exorbitant 
demand on the Exchequer, was habitually attributed to 
the machinations of a phantom conclave which passed 
by the name, sometimes of the Junta, and more often 
of the Thane's Cabinet. London was reminded several 
times a week, with a free use of capital letters, that the 
ruinous and unnaturally wicked conflict in consequence 
of which English families were mourning the loss of 
Husbands, Sons, and Brothers was a Scotch war ; 
engineered by the relentless Bute, and the bloodthirsty 
Mansfield. If once peace were restored, that crafty 
and cruel Caledonian Judge would no longer be able 
to harangue the House of Peers about the duty of 
kilHng men, and would be reduced, like Domitian, to 
kill flies. ^ Despatches from Scotch colonial governors 
had kindled the war ; Scotch counsellors had promoted 
it ; Scotch violence had conducted it ; and pamphlets 
from the pens of Scotch gazetteers, — whose necessities 
had taught them to write, though they could not talk, 
so as to be understood by Englishmen, — had deluded 
simple people into believing that the unconditional 
submission of America was necessary for the honour 
and safety of Great Britain. Those were the doctrines 
preached three times a week by Anti-Sejanus, and 
Historicus, and Politicus, and a whole tribe of able 
and uncompromising exponents, whose credit with the 
public steadily grew as hostilities went forward, and 

1 Ever since Lord Mansfield uttered his unfortunate sentence about 
killing Americans, he passed in newspapers by a name the use of which 
is the most cruel insult that can be offered to a British Judge. In Janu- 
ary 1776 it was reported that the distress inside Boston exceeded the 
possibility of description, and that our troops were eating horse-flesh, 

and burning the pews for fuel. "But the goes to the play, and 

laughs as usual ; Jemmy Twitcher sings catches with his mistresses at 
Huntingdon ; and sly old Jeffreys drops hints for shedding more blood." 


the cloud of misfortunes thickened. When Burgoyne 
had been captured, and when half Europe was on the 
eve of joining in an attack upon England, the news- 
papers authoritatively announced, in paragraphs marked 
by a semi-official turn of phrase, that the private 
Cabinet^ of which the Earl of Bute was President, had 
met at an Honourable Lady's house, and had finally 
resolved to prosecute the war rather than part with 
their employments. 

Burke, in a sentence which has been quoted in fa- 
mous debate,^ laid it down that an indictment cannot 
be brought against a nation. Nor, on the other hand, 
can a nation commence an action for libel ; or else 
Scotland, in any year between the Second and Twenty- 
second of George the Third, might have secured ex- 
emplary damages from her traducers. The ball of 
vituperation, set rolling by Churchill and Wilkes, was 
kept in motion by less skilful, but far more unfair and 
ill-natured, players, long after Wilkes had grown lazy 
and indifferent, and when death had silenced Churchill. 
Scotland, and all that appertained to her, was the stock 
subject for the gall of the lampooner and the acid of 
the caricaturist ; until the most omnivorous collector 
of eighteenth-century broadsheets and woodcuts turns 
aside in disgust when he espies the syllable ** Mac " in 
a political ballad, or the flutter of a kilt in the corner 
of a coarse engraving. The storm of obloquy rose 
perceptibly higher when the American war began, and 
waxed more fierce as it proceeded. Sometimes a crafty 
adversary, — meeting Scotchmen with their own weap- 
ons, and affecting the character of a political economist 
whose feelings had been wounded by ministerial extrav- 
agance, — put forth a mass of exaggerated statistics 

^ That was the quotation with which Mr. Gladstone began his reply 
to a chivalrous and heart-felt speech, by Mr. Gathorne Hardy, just before 
the division on the Second Reading of the Irish Church Bill. Mr. Hardy 
had made two yet finer orations in the course of the two preceding years ; 
but those, who then heard Mr. Gladstone, find it difficult to believe that he 
ever had more profoundly and pleasurably stirred his audience than on 
that early morning in March 1869. 


clustered round a particle of fact. One day it was 
affirmed that the Scotch did not pay a fiftieth propor- 
tion with the English towards the Revenue, while, upon 
the most moderate computation, they enjoyed above 
half the emoluments of Government. On another 
morning the newspapers published a return of Scotch- 
men in receipt of public money, accompanied by an 
apology to the effect that the catalogue was unavoidably 
incomplete. But, even so, the placemen and pensioners, 
whose names appeared on the list, were represented as 
drawing incomes from the Treasury to the tune of one 
hundred thousand a year more than the annual produce 
of land-tax from the whole of Scotland. 

Anti-ministerial writers vehemently contended that 
the continuance of the war, which was ruining the larger 
nation, brought nothing except gain to the smaller ; and 
almost daily proofs were adduced in support of that 
assertion.^ The Prohibitory Act, forbidding importa- 
tion from America, had advanced the price of tobacco 
seventy per cent. Glasgow merchants, (it was alleged,) 
to whom the Chancellor of the Exchequer had dropped 
a hint, had laid in great quantities of that commodity, 
and were selling at their own prices ; since the Junta 
would not let slip such a favourable opportunity of ena- 
bling Scotch middlemen to fatten on the plunder of Eng- 
lish consumers. Government inspectors were said to 
have passed without examination all the stores provided 
by Scotch contractors, who accordingly supplied the army 
with food too bad to be eaten by any except Scotch sol- 
diers, who fed worse at home.^ It was a standing rule, 

1 " A miserable remnant of English nobility, with a few unprincipled 
commoners, are cunningly employed to bear the odium of the business ; 
while embassies, governments, contracts, regiments, and all the profitable 
jobs and employments created by the calamities of the war, are without 
exception reserved for Murrays, Mackenzies, Stuarts, and Frazers ; — 
Scotchmen who have been marked as enemies to liberty, and the vile 
instruments of two late horrid rebellions." Letter from an Essex Farmer ; 
July 21, 1776. 

2 " A correspondent asks whether General Howe has any horses to 
draw his artillery and waggons, without which he will never get to Phil- 
adelphia. The horses sent by Mr. Fordyce are all dead. This is a pretty 


(so the story ran,) both at the War Office and the Ad- 
miralty, that, when things went wrong, it was never the 
fault of a Scotchman. The Greyhound frigate, a vessel 
of a class that in the last war used to capture privateers 
with thirty-six guns, had been beaten off by an American 
ship carrying only twenty-six cannon ; but the captain 
was a Scotchman, *' and the Ministry would sooner, once 
in a while, confess Americans to be brave than admit 
their favourite Scots to lack courage." 

South-countrymen, who wished to live out of the taxes, 
could not be expected to welcome the incursion of a fresh 
and hungry herd into the very pick of the Treasury pas- 
tures. But even those quiet and unaspiring Englishmen, 
who were honourably contented to carry their labour into 
the open market, sincerely believed that the bread was 
taken out of their mouths by Scotch competition ; and, 
if they failed to perceive the injury which was inflicted 
upon them, it was not for want of telling. A man of 
spirit, (so they were informed,) would endeavour to ex- 
plore new lands until times grew better, and would cross 
the seas on a butcher's tray, if he could not afford a 
Thames wherry, rather than starve at home under a 
reign when none except Scotchmen might thrive in Eng- 
land. A correspondent, signing himself Hortulanus, 
related a sorrowful tale which was calculated to inspire 
uneasiness in a very large and estimable body of work- 
people. He described himself as having been dismissed, 
with seven English gardeners who had worked under 
him, by a country gentleman, a kind and good master, 
who had been perverted by the example of a great per- 
son in the neighbourhood. This unpatriotic nobleman, 
a member of Lord North's Administration, was extremely 
fond of Scotch architects, Scotch politicians, and Scotch 
butlers and footmen ; and he employed no fewer than 

job ; but Mr. Fordyce is a Scotchman, and intends to be member for 
Colchester. He has canvassed the toone, and prepared aw things in 
readiness. Contracts are fine things ! How many miUions of English 
money will the Scotch profit by in this war ? " London Newspaper of 
October the nth, 1776. 


fourteen of the ten thousand Scotch gardeners who 
had ousted Englishmen from all the most expensively 
equipped establishments in the south of the island. 
Why, (the indignant writer asked,) should men born in 
a cold region, where neither plants, fruits, nor flowers, 
could flourish, — where the sun could not ripen a grape, 
and where half-starved spiders fed upon half-starved 
flies, — be preferred to the inhabitants of a country for 
which nature was more generous, and the sun more warm 
and prolific ? " Old as I am and encumbered by a fam- 
ily, I offered to work under these Caledonian favourites ; 
but my offer was not accepted. The Steward, who 
pitied my case, told me I should lead a wretched life 
with the Scots, who would consider me, and treat me, as 
a foreigner ; for it was their usual custom, on getting 
into a family, to introduce their own countrymen, and 
turn out all the old servants." ^ 

Hortulanus, in all probability, never cultivated any- 
thing except the flower-pots outside an attic window in 
Soho ; but he, and plenty like him, had mastered the 
easy trick of handling those topics of international prej- 
udice, and trade jealousy, which go straight home to 
the apprehensions of common men. The majority of 
readers, alarmed and sore, accepted in good faith these 
provocative statements, which were often deliberately 
invented, or dishonestly over-coloured. They relished 
their newspaper all the more when it contained an 
appeal to the memory of a prince who, alive or dead, 
was incomparably the most popular member of the reign- 
ing family throughout the country, and especially in the 
capital. It has been wittily said that, from the time 
Lord Bute took office, many Englishmen, and most Lon- 

1 The letter is in the London Evening Post of September ii, 1777. 
Macaulay, among his collection of newspapers relating to the American 
war, had acquired all the volumes of the London Evening Post on which 
he could lay his hands. That was part of the preparations made for con- 
tinuing his History of England down to a time which was within the mem- 
ory of men still living, and for relating *' how imprudence and obstinacy 
broke the ties which bound the North American colonists to the parent 


doners, refused to admit any blemish on the fame of the 
victor of Culloden, and found no fault with his Royal 
Highness except that he had left too many Camerons 
and Macphersons to be made gangers and custom-house 
officers. Scotchmen, (wrote a vigorous controversialist,) 
seemed to vie with each other in the business of fetter- 
ing our fellow-subjects in America, and of subjugating a 
brave, a loyal, and a free people to absolute slavery and 
bondage; but their cunning and persistent efforts were 
really levelled not so much against the liberties of the 
colonists as against the liberties of Englishmen. ** But, 
alas, since the demise of the Saviour of England, the 
late worthy Duke of Cumberland, — Wully the Butcher, 
as the Scotch call him, — an Englishman dare scarce 
look a Scotchman in the face." ^ Such was the over- 
charged invective which habitually disfigured the public 
journals. Our progenitors, it must be admitted, occa- 
sionally came rather oddly by opinions which they held 
very stubbornly ; and a vast number of Englishmen were 
confirmed and rooted in their friendship towards America 
because with some cause, but out of all measure, they 
envied and disliked the Scotch. 

1 Letter by Toby Trim ; January 29, 1777. 



Since the beginning of that century which now was 
far gone, the City of London, in time of war, had 
always been a centre of warUke feehng. In 1701 
it eagerly rallied to William the Third, whom it did 
not greatly love, when he proudly and indignantly ac- 
cepted the challenge of the P>ench King. In 171 1 
the butchery of Malplaquct had sickened the nation ; 
and the national conscience was revolted by the wanton 
prolongation of the horrors of a war, the objects of 
which might long ago have been secured by a prudent 
and disinterested Cabinet. The new Tory Ministry, 
which had displaced Godolphin, was actually negotiat- 
ing with France ; and yet the City of London made 
preparations for greeting Marlborough, as leader of the 
war-party, with a popular demonstration so aggressive 
and significant that it was very properly suppressed by 
the Government in the name of peace and order. Dur- 
ing the Seven Years* War the Corporation supported 
Chatham with enthusiasm and devotion. After he 
fell from power, and was succeeded by ministers who 
thought that there had been enough fighting, he was 
honoured, — on his way to the Guildhall, and inside its 
walls, — with a reception such as no subject has ever 
experienced in English history. But in 1775 the hos- 
tilities in Massachusetts found City opinion sullen and 
recalcitrant ; and that state of mind rapidly developed 
into angry and determined opposition. 

All the four members for London voted steadily 
against the war from first to last. The Corporation 



carried Humble Remonstrances to the foot of the 
Throne with so much persistency that George the Third 
would almost as willingly have seen at St. James's the 
blue and yellow uniforms of Washington's army as the 
red gowns, and furred caps, and heavy gold chains of 
the City officers.^ Every successive appearance of that 
all too familiar group at the door of his Presence Cham- 
ber indicated that he would once more have to listen, 
with some show of civility, to a long screed of manly 
common sense which he strongly suspected Mr. Alder- 
man Wilkes of having drafted. The Recorder of Lon- 
don wore mourning in public " for the brothers whom 
he had lost at Lexington ; " and his conduct so far met 
the view of those who had elected him that, when he 
died no long time after, the Court of Aldermen ap- 
pointed a successor who notoriously held the same 
opinions. Through these trying months John Saw- 
bridge was Chief Magistrate of the City, as well as one 
of its parliamentary representatives. He was a person 
of social consequence; a country gentleman, a Colonel of 
Militia in his county, and a high authority in the clubs 
of St. James's Street, where he was accounted the best 
whist player in town. Wealthy, proud, and honest, he 
was beholden to no minister, and afraid of no one. He 
had stood up in face of the Government majority at 
Westminster, in its most insolent moods, as often and as 
sturdily as did Barre, and Savile, and Dowdeswell ; and 
only less frequently than Edmund Burke and Charles 
Fox. The courage and vigour with which, at the Man- 
sion House and in the Commons, Sawbridge thwarted 
and rebuked the operations of the Cabinet, secured him 
enormous popularity as Lord Mayor, and a safe seat for 
life as a member for the City. 

Sawbridge strengthened his influence among Livery- 
men by the somewhat unscrupulous audacity with which 

^ " The day before the Sheriffs went to know when the King would 
receive the Address, he said to a young man who was hunting with him ; 
* I must go to town to-morrow to receive those fellows in furs. They will 
not' be very glad to see me, nor I them.' " Last Journals ; Dec. 1781. 


he asserted the privileges and immunities of the City in 
a matter about which almost all citizens were of one 
mind. At the outbreak of hostilities the Board of 
Admiralty was even more behindhand in its prepara- 
tions than the War Office, and with less excuse. Lord 
Barrington, the Secretary at War, had always cherished 
a hope that the dispute would be settled by negotiation, 
and had done what he dared, (which was not much,) to 
bring that result about ; whereas Sandwich, the First 
Lord of the Admiralty, — who was in the inner counsels 
of the Government, and the spokesman for his colleagues 
in the House of Peers, — had consistently laboured, both in 
Parliament and behind the scenes, to embroil the rela- 
tions between England and her colonies. He, at all 
events, was bound to provide that, so far as his own 
Department was concerned, the country should be in 
a position promptly, and strongly, to enforce by arms a 
policy for the adoj:)tion of which he himself was so largely 
responsible. And yet, as late as December 1 774, he 
had deliberately reduced the Navy by four thousand 
men, on a total strength of twenty thousand, of whoni 
a full quarter were Royal Marines. P.leven months 
afterwards he called on Parliament to vote an addition 
of twelve thousand men. The number of seamen was 
doubled in a single evening ; and the process of violently 
and suddenly withdrawing so vast a multitude from their 
homes, their habits, and their avocations, paralysed com- 
merce, and caused wide-reaching and unnecessary suffer- 
ing to individuals. 

The newspapers made known the story with a 
copious employment of those nautical terms which 
were famihar to a sea-going nation. Thirty sail of 
ships, (it was reported,) were "tumbling in Yarmouth 
Roads at single anchor," without anyone on board any 
of them except the master, and a few little cabin-boys. 
As many more lay in Harwich harbour, losing their 
voyage at a time when there was a great demand for 
their cargoes in the London markets. A captain, who 
owned his vessel, and whose sailors had been taken 


out of her by the press-gang in an Essex haven, paid 
fifty-six guineas for a crew to work her round to 
London ; whereas, with his own people to help him, 
it would have been done for as many shillings. The 
mariners of the Northern counties, formidable in a strike 
or a Revenue-riot, were not submissive under this more 
serious invasion of their liberty. Hundreds of prime 
seamen left their families penniless in the ports of 
Durham and Northumberland, and ran off, with the 
project of remaining away until the heat of the Press 
was abated. But that time was long in arriving ; for 
the maritime conscription grew more active and strin- 
gent as the necessities of the country deepened, and 
her enemies multiplied. Discontent after a while led 
to open violence. The impressed men, on board a 
tender in the river between North and South Shields, 
rose upon the crew, took possession of the ship, and 
carried her to sea under cannon-fire from her consorts, 
and from a fort which protected the entrance of the 
channel. A week or two afterwards a Lieutenant of 
the Royal Navy organised a raid upon the Colliers 
which lay in the estuary. A great number of sailors 
came to the help of the vessel which he first attacked, 
and mustered on the forecastle to repel boarders. The 
fight commenced with lumps of coal and billets of 
wood on the part of the defenders, answered on the 
other side by a blunderbuss, which first missed fire, 
and then killed a man at whom it had not been aimed. 
Newcastle citizens, who had learned by repeated ex- 
perience the temper and quality of a Quayside mob, 
felt greatly relieved when they ascertained that Lieu- 
tenant Oakes and his party had escaped with their 
lives. ^ 

In and below London the misery was intense ; and 
the resistance of the sufferers, though less determined, 
entailed a longer list of fatal accidents. Upwards of a 
thousand seamen were captured in the Thames alone. 

^ Local Records of Northumberland and Durham ; by John Sykes, 
Newcastle, 1832. 



Towards the end of October 1776, twenty armed boats 
came up river from Deptford and Woolwich, and took 
every man, except the master and mate, from every 
ship that they found in the stream. A Royal officer 
was shot with a pistol as he went up the side of a 
vessel ; and eight merchant-sailors endeavoured to es- 
cape by swimming, and were drowned in the attempt. 
The West Indian captains, especially, were in pitiable 
case. They had everything ready for weighing anchor. 
Their holds were full ; they had paid their crews for 
the time spent in the river, and for a month of the 
voyage in advance ; and now every man who slept 
before the mast was carried off with his money in his 
pocket. The needs of the Royal Nav^y had to be met 
with a hurry which did not admit of careful selection, 
or of a decent regard for individual claims to indulgence 
and consideration. The hatches of the tenders were 
battened down upon a mixed crowd of fisher-folk 
and merchant-sailors, with sore hearts and undressed 
wounds; of townsmen who had never been on board a 
ship before ; and of old broken mariners who had gone 
to sea so often, and for so long, that they had earned a 
right to spend the rest of their days where, and how, 
they chose. One press-gang had to answer in the law- 
courts for having laid hands on a veteran whose skull 
had been fractured in the last French war. Another 
swept off a group of people from a lottery office, while 
they were engaged on insuring the numbers which they 
had drawn. "Come, my lads," said the lieutenant, "I 
will insure you for good berths on board a ship of war." 
A knot of labouring men, who had been buying their 
family dinners, were assailed on their way homewards, 
and showed fight to some purpose. One sailor was 
knocked down with a leg of mutton, and another with a 
bundle of turnips ; and, before their party could make 
good their retreat, the whole of them had been ducked 
by the crowd. That was a touch of pantomime, in the 
midst of many silent and obscure domestic tragedies. 
An advertisement appeared to the effect that the bodies 


of five impressed men, suffocated in the hold of the 
Hunter tender, had been brought on shore to be owned. 
It was uncongenial work for bluff, hearty, tars who were 
told off for that odious duty. The crime, (so a spirited 
journalist reminded his readers,) rested not on the 
sailor's bludgeon, nor on the lieutenant's cutlass, but on 
the unthinking head of a minister who, through many 
years of peace, forgot the future probability of a war, 
and left every precaution alone until it was too late to 
act without violating humanity. 

Enthusiasm for the naval service there was none. 
The war was barren of prize money ; no glory was to 
be obtained out of a campaign against privateers com- 
manded by Yankee skippers who knew very well when 
to attack, and when and whither to run ; and, moreover, 
many a poor fellow, who in days gone by had helped to 
beat the French and Spaniards, was in his rude way a 
patriot. Mariners, who had served the guns under 
Hawke and Saunders, had no mind for exchanging shot 
and blows with men who fought their ship in English 
fashion, and who, when the battle had gone against 
them, begged for quarter with an English tongue. The 
irritation caused by the harsh and precipitate action of 
the Admiralty was general throughout London, and no- 
where so acute as within the City bounds. It was a 
short journey to Cornhill from Rotherhithe and Green- 
wich, opposite the river front of which the Jamaica fleet 
lay, and seemed likely to lie until the timbers rotted ; 
and West Indian captains, and their employers, might 
be seen whispering together with long faces under the 
colonnades of the Royal Exchange, and across the tables 
of the neighbouring coffee-houses. The dignity of the 
Corporation was offended by the invasion of the press- 
gangs ; and the City fathers had been touched in a ten- 
der point, for the supply of fish was scanty and irregular. 
Essex boatmen had transferred themselves and their 
nets to Holland ; and a naval officer, of more than 
common hardihood, braving a storm of malediction 
from the conception of which the imagination shrinks, 



laid forcible hands on a number of seamen in the very 
heart of Billingsgate market. 

That district lay within the Lord Mayor's jurisdic- 
tion ; and the situation was still further strained by the 
impressment of Mr. John Tubbs, a Waterman of the 
Lord Mayor's Barge. ^ The outraged Magistrate issued 
an order for the apprehension of all naval officers who 
carried on their operations inside the limits of the City. 
Three lieutenants and a mate, belonging to a ship of 
the line, were arrested, and brought before the Guild- 
hall l^ench. A very eminent Judge attended the 
examination in order to support the accused officers 
with his countenance and advice. His Lordship was 
stiffly rebuked by the sitting Aldermen, who told him 
that they themselves would never venture to intrude 
their presence upon him in his own Court on such an 
errand. The defendants refused to find bail, and were 
duly committed to the Poultry Counter, where they 
remained in durance until the Attorney and Solicitor 
General gave it as their opinion that bail had better be 
procured. At one moment it seemed as if the forcible 
enlistment of seamen within the City would be imprac- 
ticable. The Lord Mayor declined to back the press- 
warrants ; and his example was afterwards followed by 
Sir Thomas Halifax, his successor in the Chair. But 
that difficulty was surmounted by the warrants being 
taken for signature to Alderman Harley, as stout a 
Tory as ever Sawbridge was a Whig. Harley, who was 
grand-nephew of the celebrated Earl of Oxford, had a 
good hereditary title to show for his political opinions ; 
and, as a firm supporter of Lord North, he had oppor- 

^ Rex verstis Tubbs became a leading case in the King's Bench, where 
Lord Mansfield took occasion to deliver himself in favour of the legality 
of pressing for the Royal Navy. " A pressed sailor," he pronounced, " is 
not a slave. No compulsion can be put upon him except to serve his 
country ; and, while doing so, he is entitled to claim all the rights of an 
Englishman." The readers of Smollett, and even of Captain Marryat, 
may be permitted to question what those rights were worth to a landsman 
with a broken head, imprisoned many feet below the water-line in the 
hold of a frigate which had put to sea for a three years' cruise in distant 


tunities placed at his disposal which enabled him to 
make a mountain of money by the war.^ 

There had been a war anterior to 1776, and there 
have been wars since, when the youth of the City, — 
abandoning the employments by which they lived, and 
giving up, in some cases, assured and attractive prospects 
of commercial advancement, — took arms for the prose- 
cution of a quarrel which they regarded as their coun- 
try's cause. But the dispute with America excited no 
enthusiasm in the mercantile community. Whatever 
martial ambition might exist among respectable civilians 
was deadened and discouraged by the humiliating possi- 
bilities which awaited every volunteer who donned the 
scarlet coat. It was almost universally believed in mili- 
tary circles that flogging was a valuable preservative of 
discipline at home, and quite indispensable on active 
service. That last named article of belief has died hard, 
and it survived the longest in official quarters. It was 
the task of independent members of Parliament, some of 
whom are not yet old men, to break it down by argu- 
ment ; and practical experience, on a scale and of a 
nature which enforces conviction, has now finally settled 

^ The impunity with which press-gangs acted, and the terror that they 
inspired among humble civilians, are amusingly illustrated by a story 
from the unpublished Memoirs of Archbishop Markham. Some years 
after the American war a party of Westminster boys dressed themselves up 
as men-of-warsmen ; — which was not difficult in days when an officer 
kept watch on board ship in any costume which he found most com- 
fortable. They stationed themselves at the corner of Abingdon Street, 
and were headed by a stout lad in a pea-jacket and hairy cap, " who had 
acquired the art of making a cat-call by whistling through his fingers," and 
who personated the lieutenant. They promptly pounced on the first passer- 
by; examined him; pronounced him a fit person to serve his Majesty; and 
then dexterously loosed their hold, and allowed him to run. While they 
were occupied over their fifth victim, an under-master came by, and the 
sport ended. Dr. Vincent thought the affair so serious that he called in 
the Archbishop, who in his day had been a Head-master of Westminster 
with whom no scholar ever trifled. " That," said the old man of the world, 
" was a very smart piece of fun. Now do show me the hairy cap ! " and 
the boys got off with a hundred lines of Virgil apiece. 

It was said that gold-laced hats were worn by people who could ill 
afford them, because they had a military look, and were therefore a pro- 
tection against the attentions of the press-gang. 


the controversy. Within the last four years, in South 
Africa, order and obedience have been effectively main- 
tained, without recourse to corporal punishment, in by 
far the largest and the most variously constituted force 
that Great Britain ever put into the field, and kept there 
over a very long space of time under circumstances 
exceptionally trying to the spirits and temper of an army. 
Some of our most distinguished officers, for more than a 
century past, felt sufficient faith in their countrymen to 
anticipate a happy result which now is matter of history ; ^ 
but, during the war of the American Revolution, such 
wise and far-seeing prophets were few. On an April 
day of 1777 the whole neighbourhood of Whitehall was 
disturbed by the most dreadful shrieks, proceeding from 
the Parade-ground behind the Horse-guards and the 
Treasury. A soldier was receiving the first instalment 
of a thousand lashes ; and a hundred were afterwards 
inflicted upon a drummer whose heart had failed him 
during the operation. When such things were done in 
St. James's Park, a stockbroker or a clerk, of reputable 
character and good position, would unavoidably reflect 
as to what might be his fate when he was on detached 
service in the backwoods of America, at the mercy of an 
unfriendly and tyrannical sergeant who possessed the 
confidence of the regimental officers. 

1 " At the same time that the British soldiers were maintaining with 
such devoted fortitude the glory of England, their camps daily presented 
the most disgusting and painful scenes. The halberts were regularly 
erected along the lines every morning, and the shrieks of the sufferers 
made a pandemonium, from which the foreigner fled with terror and 
astonishment at the severity of our military code. Drunkenness was the 
vice of the officers and men ; but the men paid the penalty ; and the offi- 
cers who sate in judgement in the morning were too often scarcely sober 
from the last night's debauch. It will be a consummation of ray most 
anxious wishes, grounded upon my memory of these early scenes of abuse 
of power, when the system of punishment, such as I have described it, 
shall be referred to only as a traditional exaggeration." So wrote General 
Sir Robert Wilson with reference to the campaign in Flanders of the year 
1794. That was the end of what had been worst. The standard of per- 
sonal behaviour among officers in Wellington's Peninsular army was high ; 
and punishments, though still very severe, became less frequent when the 
soldiers could look to their superiors for a worthy example, and for watch- 
ful and kindly guidance. 


The American war brought into the City a tribe of 
interlopers whose presence there was viewed with moral 
repugnance by the worthiest portion of the community, 
and who inflicted very serious damage upon the material 
interests of established traders and financiers. Some- 
times it was a man of rank and pleasure, and sometimes 
an impudent and voluble upstart of doubtful antecedents, 
who came eastward through Temple Bar armed with a 
contract for rum, or beef, or army-cloth, which replaced 
to him, many times over, the three or four thousand 
pounds that he had sunk in the purchase of his seat for 
a Cornish borough. When the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer had recourse to one of his frequent borrowings, 
he passed over the hereditary bankers whom investors 
trusted, and who would have been satisfied with a fair 
and reasonable commission for their risk and trouble. 
The money was largely raised through the agency of a 
great number of members of Parliament, — who, for the 
most part, had never lent anything before in their lives, 
but had borrowed much, — on terms of scandalous laxity 
which had been arranged for the express purpose of 
rewarding them for their votes. Lord North himself 
admitted that, on a single loan of twelve millions, up- 
wards of a million had gone in clear profit among the 
individuals to whom it had been allotted ; and half of 
them were politicians who sate behind him in the House 
of Commons. ** I agree with you," (Lord Abingdon 
wrote to Lord Rockingham,) "in thinking the loan to be 
a very abominable transaction." That was how clean- 
handed senators viewed the disgraceful proceedings ; 
but harder things still were said in bank-parlours. The 
spectacle of fine gentlemen, and of some gentlemen who 
were anything but fine, masquerading about Thread- 
needle Street and Birchin Lane with the air of partners 
in Glyn's or Child's, and talking a financial jargon which 
they supposed to resemble the conversation of the 
capitalists whose gains they intercepted, inspired in 
genuine City men a disgust which, (since they were 
neither more nor less than human,) pointed and sharp- 


ened their disapprobation of the Government policy in 

That disapprobation was grounded upon large know- 
ledge and long observation. The City had been firmly 
persuaded that the knot of colonial discontent could 
never be cut by the sword. The Funds always fell after 
British defeats, and never very visibly recovered them- 
selves in consequence of a British victory. In August 
1774, before the Revolution began, the Three per Cent. 
Consols stood at 89. A month before the news of Long 
Island arrived in London they were at 84 ; a fortnight 
after that news they were at 82 ; and that was all the 
effect produced by a complete rout of the Americans, 
which was hailed by courtiers at home, and English 
diplomatists abroad, as a most reassuring, and almost a 
conclusive, success. By October 1777 Consols had fallen 
to y^. The tidings of the capture of Burgoyne brought 
them down to 70. They fell, and fell, until the capitu- 
lation of Lord CornwaUis reduced them to 54 ; and they 
could hardly have gone lower if they were to retain any 
value at all. Then Lord North made way for a Min- 
istry pledged to recognise the independence of America, 
and to abandon the right of taxing her wealth and con- 
trolling her commerce ; a right which Lord North and 
his adherents had always insisted to be absolutely essen- 
tial for maintaining the prosperity of British trade and 
British manufactures. And yet Consols, when the situa- 
tion came to be understood, rose six points on the mere 
prospect of a peaceful settlement with our former colo- 
nies ; although England was still at war, all the world 
over, with France, Spain, and Holland. The silent 
testimony of the Stocks, those authentic witnesses who 
never boast and never flatter, unanswerably proves that 
the City of London at no period shared with the Court 
and the Cabinet in the delusion that the colonies could 
be subdued by arms. 

The state of opinion in London was evident on the 
surface ; but it is more difficult to collect indications of 
the feeling which prevailed elsewhere. The sentiments, 


however, which were current in one famous region of 
industry and enterprise have been recorded by a wit- 
ness whose evidence on this point is above suspicion. 
Samuel Curwen, a prominent Massachusetts Loyahst, 
— who had been a high official in his native province, 
and who now was an exile in England, — made a tour 
in the Midland counties, and spent a week at Birming- 
ham. Walking there on the Lichfield road, Curwen 
was invited indoors by a Quaker, and found him "a 
warm American, as most of the middle classes are 
through the Kingdom." He passed an agreeable day 
with a merchant, who had been in America, and who 
was **her steady and ardent advocate." He stepped 
into the shop of a gunmaker. The British Ministry, — 
with foresight which, for the War Office, might almost 
be called inspiration, — had given the man an order to 
construct six hundred rifles for the use of General 
Howe's army : and yet, (said Curwen,) " he is an anti- 
ministerialist, as is the whole town." ^ If such was the 
case in a district where Government orders for military 
supplies had been freely placed, it may well be believed 
that political discontent and disgust were not less acute 
in those commercial centres which greatly suffered, and 
in no way profited, by the existence of hostilities. York- 
shire manufacturers, especially, had no part in the war 
except to pay increased taxes ; to borrow from their 
banker on terms, that every month grew worse, money 
that every month they needed more ; and to see their 
warehouses glutted with goods which they were for- 
bidden to sell to those New Englanders, and Penn- 
sylvanians, who had formerly been their very best 
customers. " In the West Riding," wrote John Wesley, 
" a tenant of Lord Dartmouth was telling me, * Sir, our 
tradesmen are breaking all round me, so that I know 
not what the end will be.' Even in Leeds I had 
appointed to dine at a merchant's ; but, before I came, 
the bailiffs were in possession of the house. Upon my 

saying, ' I thought Mr. had been in good circum- 

^ Samuel Cnrwen's /ournal (ot August 1776. 


stances,' I was answered, * He was so, but the American 
war has ruined him.' " ^ 

That war was marked by a feature unique in English 
history. Not a few officers of every grade, who were 
for the most part distinguished by valour and ability, 
flatly refused to serve against the colonists ; and their 
scruples were respected by their countrymen in general, 
and by the King and his ministers as well. An example 
was set in the highest quarters. The sailor and the sol- 
dier who stood first in the public esteem were Augustus 
Keppel, Vice Admiral of the White, and Lieutenant 
General Sir Jeffrey Amherst. Keppel made it known 
that he was ready as ever to serve against a European 
enemy, but that, although professional employment was 
the dearest object of his life, he would not accept it "in 
the line of America." After that announcement was 
made, and to some degree on account of it, he enjoyed 
a great, and indeed an extravagant, popularity among 
all ranks of the Navy ; and, when a European war broke 
out, he was promoted, and placed in command of the 
Channel Fleet. Amherst had absolutely declined to sail 
for New England in order to lead troops in the field. 
He withstood the expostulations and entreaties of his 
Sovereign, who in a personal interview, (as Dr. Johnson 
truly testified,) was as fine a gentleman as the world 
could see; and who never was more persuasive and 
impressive than when condescending to request one of 
his subjects to undertake a pubhc duty as a private 
favor to himself. The circumstance was not remem- 
bered to Amherst's disadvantage. He was retained as 
Commander-in-Chief of the forces ; within the ensuing 
five years he became a peer, the Colonel of a regiment 
of Household Cavalry, and a full General in the army ; 
and he died a Field-Marshal. 

Amherst, although determined not to fight against the 
colonists, who had fought so well under him, was a poli- 

1 John Wesley to Lord Dartmouth : Historical Manuscripts Com- 
mission ; Fifteenth Report, Appendix, Part I. 


tical friend of the existing Administration ; and, in the 
main, a supporter of their colonial policy. His course 
of action naturally enough commended itself to military 
men who were opposed to the Government, and who be- 
lieved that the American question had been grievously 
mismanaged. Their views obtained expression in a 
statement made by a brother-soldier, whom of all others 
they would have chosen for their spokesman. Conway, 
like Amherst, terminated his career a Field-Marshal ; 
but his most glorious and joyous years were those which 
he passed as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland in 
Flanders. The immediate vicinity of that intrepid prince, 
during a battle, was quite hot enough for most people, 
but not for Harry Conway. At Fontenoy the young 
fellow contrived, on his own account, to get hand to hand 
with two French grenadiers ; and at Lauffeld he was 
within a finger's breadth of being killed in a desperate 
scuffle with some French hussars. His courage, how- 
ever, had seldom been so severely tested as when, in 
November 1775, he addressed the House of Commons 
on the limits of military obedience. That subject, (he 
said,) having been started in Parliament, it might look 
like an unworthy shrinking from the question if he did 
not say a few words to it. No struggle in the mind of 
a military man could be so dreadful as any doubt of this 
kind. There was a great difference between a foreign 
war, where the whole community was involved, and a 
domestic war on points of civil contention, where the 
community was divided. In the first case no officer 
ought to call in question the justice of his country ; but, 
in the latter, a military man, before he drew his sword 
against his fellow-subjects, ought to ask himself whether 
the cause were just or no. Unless his mind was satis- 
fied on that point, all emoluments, — nay, the sacrifice of 
what people in his situation held dearest, their honour, — 
would be nothing in the scale with his conscience. He, 
for his part, never could draw his sword in that cause.^ 

1 Debate in the Commons on bringing in the American Prohibitory Bill. 
Parliamentary History of England ; Vol. XVIII., page 998. 


Those words were frank and weighty ; but for the 
purposes of history the manner in which they were 
taken is far more important and significant than the 
words themselves. The influence of Conway upon poli- 
tics rose steadily in the course of the coming years, 
throughout which his view of a soldier's obligations 
never wavered, and never was concealed. The candour 
and fairness of his character, (we are told,) drew much 
respect to him from all thinking and honest men.^ In 
February 1782, during his country's dark hour, Conway 
recommended Parliament to terminate the contest with 
America, — a course which he had always thought to be 
the duty of Kngland, and which many, who had long 
been deaf to duty, were beginning to contemplate as 
necessary to her interests. His proposition was rejected 
by a single vote on a division in which nearly four hun- 
dred members took part ; and a few nights afterwards 
he induced a larger and a wiser House to condemn any 
further prosecution of the war by a majority of nineteen. 
Such a Resolution on such a subject, — carried against 
all the efforts and influence of a powerful Court, and of 
a Cabinet which to external appearance was unanimous, 
— is unprecedented in the annals of our Parliament, and 
perhaps in those of any national assembly. No more 
sincere and striking ])roof could possibly be given of the 
estimation in which Conway was held by his fellow-sen- 
ators. They admired him none the less, and trusted him 
all the more, because, at the outbreak of the war, he had 
not shrunk from declaring himself on as abstruse a point 
of conduct as a soldier and a patriot was ever called 
upon to determine. 

The same respectful and considerate treatment was 
very generally extended to other military and naval men 
whose personal action was governed by the same motives. 
Some left the service outright, and re-entered private life, 
with no diminution to such popularity, or social pre- 
dominance, as they had hitherto enjoyed. ^ Some re- 

1 Walpole's Lait Journals ; February 22, 1782. 

* Such an one was Mr. Bosville of Thorpe Hall. That gentleman, after 


mained on half-pay until Great Britain was attacked by 
European enemies, when they promptly and joyfully 
placed their swords once more at the disposal of the 
Government. Others, again, accepted a commission in 
the militia ; a post of unusual danger and importance at 
a moment when England, stripped bare of regular troops, 
had temporarily lost command of the sea in consequence 
of the scandalous improvidence of the Board at the head 
of which Lord Sandwich sate. Whatever course they 
adopted, their fidelity to principle appeared reasonable, 
and even laudable, to their countrymen of the middle 
and lower classes ; and in their intercourse with equals 
they brought down upon themselves and their families 
no penalties whatsoever. The American war, from the 
outset to the finish, was an open question in English 
society. A general or colonel, who had refused to take 
a command against the colonists, lived comfortably and 
pleasantly with his country neighbours. The strong 
Tory politicians among them might grumble against him 
as fanciful or factious ; but much harder things would 
have been said about him if he had shot foxes, or given a 
piece of ground for the site of a Nonconformist chapel. 
To the general public of our own day, — as indeed 
had always been the case with every well-read EngUsh- 
man, — the name of Lord Chatham stands for patriot- 
serving a campaign with Howe, had quitted the army because he would not 
act any longer against American Independence. Season after season he 
kept open house in town for Fox, and Grey, and Erskine, and Sheridan; 
nor for them only; for one of his constant guests was Lord Rawdon, than 
whom the Americans had no more stern and dreaded adversary in arms all 
the while that the war had lasted. Until he grew old, in order to avoid the 
daily trouble of entertaining at home, Bosville's board was spread at the 
Piazza Coffeehouse ; where, when five o'clock came, two dozen men of 
fashion frequently sate down to dine well, even though only half a dozen 
had been expected. Whether the company was small or large, the host 
was king of it, or rather despot ; and a despot of the kind which London 
needed then, and needs still. For dinner was served when the hour struck; 
and any one who came late knew that the only thing left for him was to 
go away, and dine elsewhere. The custom of proposing toasts and senti- 
ments after the cloth was drawn, — destructive to conversation, and most 
depressing to the convivial happiness of the shy and the inarticulate, — 
was abolished at Bosville's table. See the Life of General Sir Robert 
Wilson ; Volume I., chapter ii. 


ism. For he raised England, in a very few years, from 
distress and discredit to a brilliant and unquestioned 
pre-eminence ; he made our Empire ; and he expressed 
the national sentiment, which was ever present with 
him, in unusually apt and glowing language. Chatham 
gave his sons to his country. Great as were the pains 
which he bestowed upon the training of the second 
brother as an orator and a ruler, it was with equal ardour 
that he incited and encouraged the military studies of 
his eldest boy. Lord Pitt was sent into the army at 
fifteen. The father, who never was entirely happy 
unless he had all his family about him, felt the separa- 
tion keenly ; ^ and he was actuated by a sole view to 
the young man's usefulness in that profession which he 
regarded as not less honourable, and hardly less im- 
portant, than the calling of a statesman. " My son's 
ambition," (so Lord Chatham informed the Governor 
of Canada in his stately manner,) is to become a real 
officer ; and I trust he already affixes to the appellation 
all the ideas that go to constitute a true title to the 
name." General Carleton learned with infinite satisfac- 
tion that the ex-minister, — who possessed so extensive 
and accurate a knowledge of the higher ranks on the 
British army-list, wished his son to serve an appren- 
ticeship on Carleton's staff, and had purchased him a 
pair of colours in the regiment of which Carleton was 
the Colonel. 

The letter from which that extract is taken was dated 
in October 1773. In February 1776 Lady Chatham 
wrote to thank the Governor warmly, in her husband's 
name, for the favour and attention which Lord Pitt had 
received from his chief, in garrison and in the field. 
** Feeling all this, Sir," (so she proceeded,) ** as Lord 
Chatham does, you will tell yourself with what concern 
he communicates to you a step that, from his fixed opin- 

^ "The time draws nigh for our dear Pitt joining his regiment at Que- 
bec. What pain to part with him ! And what satisfaction to see him go 
in so manly a manner, just in the age of pleasures ! " Lord Chatham to 
Lady Stanhope; March 23, 1774. 


ion with regard to the continuance of the unhappy war 
with our fellow-subjects of America, he has found it 
necessary to take. It is that of withdrawing his son 
from such a service." Two years afterwards, when the 
French war broke out, the family, (and who could blame 
them }^ discovered a bright side to that great public 
calamity in the reflection that a son and brother could 
now return to the profession of arms with an easy con- 
science.^ Lord Pitt went back to the Service, and was 
appointed aide-de-camp to the Lieutenant-Governor of 
Gibraltar. He had not yet left England when Lord 
Chatham was struck down by death ; but he sailed 
before the funeral, and handed over the post of chief 
mourner to his brother William. The House of Com- 
mons heard, with deep emotion, the noble words in 
which the dying man was said to have bidden his son 
honour a father's memory by responding on the instant 
to his country's call.^ Lord Pitt v/as rewarded for his 
filial behaviour by the privilege of taking his share in 
that immortal defence of our Mediterranean citadel 
which did so much to restore the imperilled supremacy, 
and to salve the wounded pride, of England. 

The Earl of Effingham was a regimental officer, in 
the spring of life,^ and passionately attached to his voca- 
tion. At a moment when there was no fighting to be 
witnessed west of the Carpathians, he had joined the 
Russian army as a volunteer, and had gone through a 
campaign against the Turks* with a name for conspicu- 

1 Letter from the younger William Pitt to the Countess of Chatham ; 
March 19, 1778. 

2 Speech of Lord Nugent; May 13, 1778. Parliamentary History; 
Vol. XIX., page 1227. 

3 In the Correspondence of the Marquis of Cornwallis, chapter i., Effing- 
ham is styled a Lieutenant General ; but, according to Collins's Peerage. 
he was not thirty years old in 1775. A note to the Parliamentary History 
describes him as a captain ; and that statement is borne out by the regi- 
mental lists preserved in the War Office. It was his father, the second 
Earl, who was a Lieutenant General. 

* Lord Effingham's behaviour was specially marked in 1770, when 
almost the whole of the Turkish fleet was burned in a bay on the coast of 
Anatolia. It was the Sinope of that war. 


ous enterprise and valour. He did not belong to the 
class of people who are prone to self-questioning, and 
inclined to crotchets or fanaticisms. A plain, rather 
rough, country squire, he lived according to the less 
ideal habits of his period and his order.^ And yet, 
when his regiment was told off for America, he threw 
up his commission, and, though far from a rich man, 
renounced the prospect of sure and quick advancement. 
In May 1775 he made his explanation in Parliament. 
His highest ambition, (so he told the House of Lords,) 
ever since he had any ambition at all, was to serve his 
country in a military capacity. If there was on earth 
an event which he dreaded, it was to see that country 
so situated as to make his profession incompatible with 
his obligations as a citizen; and such an event had now 
arrived. "When the duties," he said, "of a soldier 
and a citizen become inconsistent, I shall always think 
myself obliged to sink the character of the soldier in 
that of the citizen, till such time as those duties shall 
again, by the malice of our r^v?/ enemies, become united." 
Effingham sate down as soon as he had made this re- 
markable confession ; but none of his brother peers, who 
were present, took exception to his speech ; nor was he 
ever subsequently taunted with it in debate, although he 
was a frequent, a fiery, and a most provocative assailant 
of the Government. Outside Parliament, not in any 
way by his own seeking, he at once became celebrated, 
and vastly popular. Mason, the poet, inquired if ever 
there was anything, ancient or modern, either in senti- 
ment or language, better than Lord Effingham's speech.^ 
PubHc thanks were voted to him by the Corporations of 
London and Dublin. The Free Citizens of the Irish 
metropolis, many of them gentlemen of wealth and 
standing, and Protestants all, dined together and drank 

1 His lady hunted, and rode over five-barred gates. He himself liked 
his wine ; and a summer-house on the estate had been christened Boston 
Castle, — not as a tribute to the American cause, but because no tea was 
ever drunk there. 

2 Mason to Walpole ; June 17, 1775. 


toasts to the Glorious and Immortal memory of the 
great King William ; to Lord Chatham ; to the brave 
General Carleton, the Man of too much Humanity for 
the purpose of a Cruel and Cowardly Minister ; and to 
the Earl of Effingham, who did not forget the Citizen 
in the Soldier. 

Lord Frederic Cavendish, (a name which is the syn- 
onym of loyalty,) had been a soldier from his youth 
onwards. At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War he 
had made a compact with three other promising officers, 
— Wolfe, Monckton, and Keppel, — not to marry until 
France was defeated, and finally brought to terms.^ He 
was an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland in 
Germany, and during several campaigns he rode at the 
head of a brigade of infantry in the army of Prince 
Ferdinand of Brunswick. Already a Lieutenant General 
of repute when the American disturbances broke out, 
he still, at the age of five-and-forty, had the best of his 
career before him ; but he allowed it to be known that 
he would not apply for a command against the colonists. 
Lord Frederic, however, continued in his profession ; 
and in subsequent years he was made a full General 
by the Whigs, and a Field-Marshal by the Tories. 
Before it was ascertained that he declined to take part 
in the war, something disagreeable was written about 
him by a Mr. Falconer of Chester, who cannot be 
ranked as a very noteworthy critic. " The times assist 
the Americans. They are united by our divisions. Lord 
Frederic Cavendish is going to this service. If he acts 
consistently, he should turn to their side ; for that family 
has been the best friends to Faction of every kind, and 
the most furious enemies to civil order." ^ Burke, on 

1 This account of Lord Frederic Cavendish is largely taken from the 
Dictionary of National Biography. The article allotted to Lord Frederic 
in that work recounts an anecdote about him and the Due d'Aiguillon, 
which very pleasantly recalls the chivalrous relations existing, in time of 
war, between the nobles and gentlemen of France and of England. 

2 Letter by Mr. Thomas Falconer, among the family papers of James 
Round, Esq., M.P. : Historical Manuscripts Commission^ Fourteenth 
Report; Appendix, Part IX. 



the other hand, described the Cavendishes as men who 
were among the ornaments of the country in peace, and 
to whom the King owed some of the greatest glories 
of his own, and his predecessor's reign, "in all the 
various services of the late French war." Great integ- 
rity ; great tenderness and sensibility of heart, with 
friendships few but unalterable ; perfect disinterested- 
ness ; the ancient English reserve and simplicity of 
manner, — those, according to Edmund Burke, were 
the marks of a true Cavendish.^ Such was the opinion 
held about the Devonshire family by one who assuredly 
knew them more intimately than ever did Mr. Falconer ; 
and the one judgement may be weighed against the other. 
Public attention had recently been strongly and favour- 
ably drawn to a man who was the forerunner of a class 
which, from that time to ours, has played an unostenta- 
tious and unrecompensed, but a most commanding, part 
in the history of moral and social progress. Effingham 
and Chatham, Conway and Cavendish, were peers and 
members of Parliament ; but Granville Sharp, though 
not himself a senator, had the originality, the native 
strength, and the indefatigable enthusiasm of one whose 
behests, in the long run, senators are irresistibly com- 
pelled to obey. He had recently been invited to enter 
Holy Orders with the promise of a valuable living ; but 
he put aside the offer on the ground that he could not 
satisfy himself concerning his qualifications for the 
function of a spiritual teacher.^ Granville Sharp was 
one of the founders of the Bible Society ; he learned 
Hebrew in hopes of converting a Jew, and Greek in 
order to refute a Socinian ; and his criticisms upon the 
sacred texts were recommended to the attention of theo- 
logical students by a Bishop. If he was not fit to be a 
clergyman, it is hard to see how the Church of England 

^ Letter drafted by Burke in 1771. Burke's Character of Lord John 

^ Letter to the Rev. Granville Wheler, Esq. : Memoirs of Granville 
Sharps Esq., by Prince Hoare ; Part L, chapter i. The singular address 
which the envelope bore is explained in a note at the bottom of the page. 


could have been manned. Nevertheless when Granville 
Sharp advanced, as an additional reason for declining 
to take orders, his belief that he could serve the cause 
of religion more effectually as a layman, there was 
much good sense in his decision. He was already 
deeply committed to a laborious, a rude, and a hazard- 
ous undertaking which, though it was inspired by 
Christianity, could only be forced to a successful con- 
clusion by a free use of carnal weapons. Between 1765 
and 1772 he carried on a seven years' war of his own 
for the establishment and vindication of the doctrine 
that a slave is liberated by the act of setting his foot 
upon English ground. He had Lord Mansfield against 
him ; until, by his undaunted pertinacity, he brought to 
his own opinion jury after jury, and at length the Bench 
itself. London then, and especially the lower districts 
on the Thames river, can hardly be said, in the modern 
sense of the word, to have been policed at all ; and 
Granville Sharp stood in constant peril from the ruffians 
who were employed to re-capture runaways, or to kidnap 
negroes and negresses at the instigation of people who 
had not a tittle of claim to the ownership of their 
victims. His small patrimony was soon eaten up by 
law-costs, and by the expense of harbouring, clothing, 
and feeding the poor wretches whom he endeavoured to 
protect; but he contrived to support existence on his 
salary as a clerk in the Ordnance Department. 

That slender resource failed him of a sudden. On 
the twenty-eighth of July, 1775, there occurs the follow- 
ing clumsily worded, though not ungrammatical, entry 
in Granville Sharp's diary : "• Board at Westminster. 
Account in Gazette of the Battle at Charlestown, near 
Boston, and letters with large demands for ordnance 
stores, being received, which were ordered to be got 
with all expedition, I thought it right to declare my 
objections to the being any way concerned in that un- 
natural business." The chiefs of the department, both 
military and civil, behaved in a manner that did them 
honour ; and their treatment of him, (as his biographer 



remarks,) was a specimen of the respectful kindness 
which the probity of Mr. Sharp's character attracted 
even from those who differed from him in opinion.^ 
That difference was not very deeply marked in the case 
of the most conspicuous among Mr. Sharp's official 
superiors. Sir Jeffrey Amherst, who was at the head 
of the Ordnance, must have felt it a doubtful point 
whether he himself was justified in shipping gunpowder 
to America, when he could not find it with his con- 
science to go thither for the purpose of firing it off 
against the colonists. The Commissioners of Ordnance 
declined to accept Mr. Sharp's resignation. They gave 
him continuous leave of absence for nearly two years, 
by instalments of two months, and three months, and six 
months, at a time ; and they would not accede to his 
urgent request that his salary should meanwhile be appor- 
tioned to the payment of the substitutes who did his 
work, so that the office might incur no additional expense 
upon his account. But in the end he had his own way, as 
sooner or later he always had his way about everything. 
In 1777 his place was declared vacant; and at an age 
well past forty he was thrown penniless on a world 
where people, even less unworldly than Granville Sharp, 
find it difficult to make an income by new and untried 
methods after once they have turned the corner of life. 
By the year 1775 something had been heard of a man 
who, in the course of a very long and honoured career, 
did as much in defence of our political freedom as Gran- 
ville Sharp accomplished for the cause of humanity. 
John Cartwright, the younger son of a Nottinghamshire 
squire, entered the Royal Navy in 1758 at a late age for 
a midshipman. He soon made up for lost time, and 
attracted such notice by activity and intelligence, joined 
to a singularly amiable and chivalrous character, that 
Lord Howe took him on to his ship, the Magnanime, 
which then was reputed the best school for a rising 
officer. Cartwright became a prime favourite with his 
captain, — if such a word can fairly be applied in the 

^ Prince Hoare's Memoirs of Granville Sharp ; Part I., chapter vi. 


case of a chief the degree of whose favour was invari- 
ably determined by merit. Howe, who knew every man 
in his crew and every corner of his vessel, contrived 
special arrangements to ensure that the young fellow 
should live with congenial comrades, and that he should 
enjoy all possible facilities, which the space and the 
routine of a man-of-war would permit, for learning the 
theory of his profession.^ Cartwright, (as was likely to 
happen with Pitt for war minister, and Anson for First 
Lord of the Admiralty,) soon had a trial of that profes- 
sion in its most practical and exciting shape. At the 
battle in Quiberon Bay he had the care of four guns on 
the lower deck ; and, out of his twenty-six men, thirteen 
were swept down by one discharge. Lord Howe had 
the adversary's flag-ship, and two of her consorts, upon 
him at one and the same moment ; and John Cartwright 
informed his friends at home that, more than once in 
the course of the engagement, he expected little less 
than to be diving for French cockles. When Howe was 
selected by Hawke to lead an attack on those ships of 
the enemy which had run for safety into the Vilaine 
river, Cartwright was one of the three officers who accom- 
panied his Lordship in the boats. The Magnanime was 
kept at sea for the best part of two busy years, until the 
crew had to be at the pumps during the whole of every 
watch. At length Howe surrendered the command, and 
was succeeded by a very different kind of officer ;2 and 

^ Until the rules of spotless cleanliness and careful stowage, which were 
initiated by Lord St. Vincent and perfected by Lord Nelson, had been es- 
tablished throughout the British navy, a seventy-four gun ship, with her 
six hundred men between decks, was neither an abode of comfort, nor the 
place for quiet and uninterrupted studies. Dr . Johnson, whose standard 
of tidiness was not exacting, often quoted his stay on board a ship of war 
in Plymouth Sound as an experience which reconciled him to any, and 
all, the drawbacks incidental to life on shore. " When you look down," 
he said, " from the quarter-deck to the space below, you see the utmost 
extremity of human misery ; such crowding, such filth, such stench." 

2 It would be more profitable, (so Cartwright declared,) to be taken 
prisoner for a few months, and to have the advantage of learning to fence 
and talk French, than to serve under a captain who lingered about wher- 
ever he could get fresh meat and syllabubs, and who missed opportunities 
for a fight " the loss of which would make a parson swear.'* 


the single thought of the young lieutenant was hence- 
forward to attain such a proficiency in seamanship as 
would render him worthy of his luck if ever the day 
came for him to sail with Howe once more.-^ 

That day arrived at last ; and a sad day it was for John 
Cartwright. In February 1776 Lord Howe was ap- 
pointed to the American station ; and he forthwith invited 
Cartwright to call at his house in Grafton Street, and 
earnestly pressed him to embark on board the flag-ship. ^ 
Cartwright, too deeply moved to argue with a patron 
whom he almost worshipped, intimated that he was un- 
able to accept the offer, and placed in the Admiral's 
hands a letter which explained the reason of his decision ; 
and Lord Howe in reply acknowledged, mournfully 
enough, that opinions in politics, on points of such 
national moment as the differences subsisting between 
England and America, should be treated like opinions 
in religion, wherein everyone was at liberty to regulate 
his conduct by those ideas which he had adopted upon 
due reflection and enquiry.^ Cartwright continued to 
reside in his native county, respected and loved by young 
and old. He was known in the hunting-field for a fine 
horseman, who rode with the courage of a sailor ; and he 
passed in the Militia for a most just and kind, but a very 
strict, officer, who made his battalion, which had been 
much neglected, into an example for discipline and or- 
ganisation. His value was recognised, and his friendship 
sought, by the General in command of the district, — 
the Lord Percy who helped to win the day at Fort 
Washington, and who saved as much of it as could be 
saved at Lexington. About a twelvemonth after he had 
refused to serve against the colonists. Major Cartwright 

"^ Life and Correspondence of Major Cartwright: London, 1826; Vol. 
I., pages 8 to 29. 

^ Cartwright was well aware of the chance which he was losing. Lord 
Howe, (so he told his friends,) now commanded more ships than had ever 
fallen to the lot of one man since the defeat of the Spanish Armada, so 
that it would be " the fairest field for rapid promotion that could possibly 
be imagined." 

* Life and Correspondence of Major Cartwright : Vol. L, pages 72 to 81. 


received the freedom of the town of Nottingham ; a sig- 
nificant indication of the views prevailing in a community 
which had the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Army 
in America for a parhamentary representative.^ 

It has happened again and again that, when a nation 
is engaged in serious hostilities, the partisans of peace 
have been exposed to humiliating, and sometimes very 
unmerciful, treatment from outbreaks of popular vio- 
lence. But opponents of the American war had in this 
respect very little to complain about, if we may judge 
by the noise made over some very mild instances of per- 
secution which were loudly advertised, and vociferously 
rebuked, by the chorus of Whig journalists. After the 
battle of Long Island, (so their story went,) preparations 
had been made to illuminate Manchester whenever the 
tidings arrived that New York was taken. One of the 
citizens put out a notice that he, for his part, had no 
intention of joining in the demonstration ; and that, if 
his windows were broken, informations would be lodged 
against the offenders. Thereupon a certain Reverend 
Doctor was said to have transmitted a copy of the notice 
to one of the Secretaries of State, with the expectation 
that ** the writer would be immured in Newgate, and that 
he himself would be complimented with the first vacant 
Bishopric ; " neither of which consequences, so far as 
history records, came to pass. Again, it was alleged by 
the Opposition newspapers that the Jacobites in the town 
of Derby, who toasted the Stuarts kneeling, had cele- 
brated the successes of the Royal Army in America 
with a banquet where they drank confusion to the Whig 

1 Among the officers who objected to serve in America some, as may 
well be conceived, failed to express their disinclination in terms which sat- 
isfied the taste of a military superior. " For the safety of the Service I 
must recommend that Major Norris, of the 27th Regiment, may have leave 
to sell. He came to me, and found fault with this most just and necessary 
war his Majesty is obliged to make against his rebellious subjects. When 
I would have interrupted him, he thundered out a hundred Greek lines 
from Homer. He then talked to me out of Plutarch's Lives. In brief, 
my Lord, he convinced me that he will be better out of the King's service 
than in it." General Irwin to Earl Harcourt, September i, 1775. 


corporation ; and the ministerialists of Taunton were 
accused of having taken a liberty with the Parish Church 
by ringing the bells in honour of Howe's victory on the 
Brandywine. When such trumpery occurrences were 
minutely narrated, and solemnly adduced against the 
Tories as proofs of insolence and outrage, their political 
adversaries must have been very hard put to it in order 
to find a real grievance ; and it must have been seldom 
indeed that any friend of America, in any city of Eng- 
land, was harshly or disrespectfully used by those among 
his neighbours who belonged to the war party. 

The story of a disturbance, which took place on the 
reception of the news of Lexington, rather tends to 
suggest that the idler and less responsible section of our 
population was in sympathy with the colonists. On an 
evening in August 1775, a party of scapegraces smashed 
the lamps at Vauxhall ; pulled the door of the Rotunda 
off its hinges ; stormed the Throne of Orpheus, and 
ejected the musicians who occupied it ; and chased out 
of the gardens the whole staff of the establishment, to- 
gether with all the constables, calling out that they 
themselves were the Provincials beating the Regulars. 
That, for some years to come, was the only riot in which 
civilians were concerned. On other occasions the most 
effective violators of public order appear to have been 
subalterns in the army. At Lincoln Lieutenant Mac- 
intosh, of the Sixty-ninth Regiment, entered a print- 
shop, took from the window a picture of General 
Putnam, tore it in pieces, and then paid for it across the 
counter. Soon afterwards Macintosh came back again, 
destroyed another picture without giving compensation, 
and swore that next time he would run his sword through 
the panes of the shopfront. On the Monday following 
some other officers, (mistaking for an enemy one who, 
in effect, if not in intention, was among England's most 
serviceable allies,) cut the head out of an engraving of 
General Charles Lee, and threatened that, if the trades- 
man did not mend his ways, the soldiers should be 
ordered to pull down his house. 


The proceeding was a boyish ebullition of military 
loyalty, pardonable in the eyes of any fair man who 
himself had worn a uniform when he was one-and- 
twenty; but Whig scribes, who saw deep into every mile- 
stone on the road from Edinburgh to London, cited it 
as a proof that a Scotchman might insult English citi- 
zens with impunity. If officers, (it was said,) had be- 
haved with such turbulence and want of breeding in the 
good old King's reign, they would have been broke, or, 
at the least, would have received a pubhc reprimand at 
the head of the regiment ; but now, with Lord Bute be- 
hind the Throne, no colonel in the army would dare to 
censure a lieutenant whose name showed that he came 
from Inverness. These enormities, (as the Opposition 
journalist styled them,) afforded so many additional in- 
dications that the "only path to preferment was by 
trampling upon law, and turning into ridicule the rights 
and privileges of the people." It undoubtedly was the 
right and privilege of a shopkeeper to exhibit the por- 
traits of American generals as popular heroes ; but it 
was a right which he would have been very cautious 
indeed of exercising if any large proportion of his neigh- 
bours had been ardent supporters of the war. That 
such, however, was the case either in the town of Lin- 
coln, or generally throughout England, is disproved by 
facts and considerations the significance of which it is 
not easy to deny. 

In time of war a political agitation, — especially one 
that is aimed against institutions and abuses on the con- 
tinuance of which the supremacy of the party in power 
depends, — is almost certainly doomed to languish and 
to fail ; and that such an agitation should be too insig- 
nificant for serious notice may well be the best thing 
which could happen for its promoters. During the great 
war with France, towards the close of the eighteenth 
century, the bolder advocates of parliamentary reform 
were sometimes rabbled by mobs, and sometimes pun- 
ished in the law-courts with exemplary severity ; whereas 
twenty years previously, all the while that our armies 


were fighting Washington in America, the art of Con- 
stitutional agitation at home was brought to a perfec- 
tion, and pursued with an amount of success, surpassing 
anything which had ever been known before. A com- 
bined movement, — directed towards the improvement 
of our electoral system, and the extinction of those mani- 
fold facilities for corruption by which the Court kept in 
awe the Cabinet, and the Cabinet controlled the Parha- 
ment, — ran its course with growing velocity; and neither 
the Government at Whitehall, nor its adherents through- 
out the country, endeavoured to repress that movement 
either by penal legislation or by lawless violence. There 
were open meetings of Freeholders in the shires, and of 
Freemen in the cities; County Associations for the re- 
dress of grievances; Committees of Correspondence 
which maintained uniform and concerted action among 
reformers all through the kingdom; and public dinners 
with toasts so bravely worded as to ring like the chal- 
lenge of a trumpet, and so numerous, when drunk in 
bumpers, as effectually to drown every vestige of caution 
and timidity. That such methods, without entailing any 
disagreeable consequences on those who employed them, 
should have been put in practice against a Ministry 
which was engaged in the conduct of an important war, 
is an indirect, but a most material, proof that the war 
itself was disliked by the nation. 

The direct evidence is stronger yet ; for at many 
County meetings there was a Resolution, at most 
banquets a whole string of flowery Sentiments, and 
prominent in every Petition and Address an emphatic 
paragraph, all of which denoted friendliness towards 
America, and exhaled hearty aspirations for an imme- 
diate Peace. At length, in December 1781, the Livery- 
men of London, in public assembly duly convoked, took 
action which has been so forcibly narrated by a con- 
temporary historian that it is well to reproduce his 
description, italics and all. " They besought the King 
to remove both his public and private counsellors, and 
used these stunning and memorable words : ' Your 


armies are captured ; the wonted superiority of your 
navies is annihilated; your dominions are lost.* " These 
words, (so the writer proceeded,) could have been used 
to no other king : " for no king had lost so much, with- 
out losing all. If James the Second lost his crown, yet 
the Crown lost no dominions."^ The Address from 
the Livery was never presented ; but the last had not 
yet been heard of it ; for a week afterwards, in West- 
minster Hall, a similar petition was proposed by Charles 
Fox, and adopted by a vast concourse of Westminster 
electors. The footguards were held in readiness for 
the protection of Downing Street against a possible 
incursion of the Opposition mob, and not at all from 
an apprehension lest the war-party should invade the 
Hall, and attempt to break the heads of the peace- 
party. Experience had often shown that there was no 
ground for anticipating any such contingency. Anti- 
war meetings always passed off quietly between 1776 
and 1782 ; although there is no reason to suppose that 
our ancestors were more tolerant, or better-mannered, 
than their descendants. The Wilkes riots, and the 
Keppel riots, conclusively demonstrated what Lon- 
doners of the period were capable of doing for the 
promotion of disorder whenever they had a mind that 
way. There exists one tenable theory, and one only, 
to account for the tranquillity and security amid which 
those, who opposed the Government on the question of 
America, were able to carry forward their political 
operations. The rational explanation is that the dis- 
favour beneath which, from other causes, the Ministry 
had long and deservedly laboured, instead of being 
diminished, was confirmed and aggravated by the war. 

^ Last Journals ; December 4, 1781. 



An Englishman who approved the war was quite 
willing that Englishmen who disliked it should be at 
full liberty to express their opinions ; but he had no 
incUnation whatever to conceal his own. The printed 
memoirs of the period are sprinkled thickly with scraps 
of many conversations ; and brief selections from the 
familiar utterances of famous men have been deliber- 
ately reported for the amusement and enlightenment 
of future ages. From these sources it is possible to 
catch at least an echo of the bluff jolly talk which 
flowed round the tables of country houses, while the 
Gainsboroughs and Romneys, with their colours still 
fresh, looked down upon the company from the panel- 
ling of the walls. The disputants on either side met 
in a fair field and on equal terms, and handled the 
fiery topics of the war as unreservedly as their grand- 
sons in the days of Peel argued about the Corn Laws.^ 
A gentleman in the Western Counties complained that 
the Dissenters, who in that part of the world were " as 
thick as mushrooms," not contented with the unmolested 
enjoyment of their own mode of worship, mixed them- 
selves up with State affairs, and presumed to sit in 
judgement on the American policy of the Government; 
but, in spite of his disgust, he could not escape from 

1 How people then talked about America, — or, (what is the next thing 
to it,) how, in the view of their contemporaries, they seemed to talk, — 
may be gathered from imaginary conversations written and published, 
generally with a controversial object, by authors belonging to both political 
parties. A sample from one of them, vidth a touch of liveliness and 
reality about it which renders it well worth reading, is given in the 
Second Appendix at the end of this volume. 



hearing all that the Dissenters had to say.^ A Loyalist 
refugee from New England who, for want of something 
better to occupy him, spent much of his time in public 
places, described to a friend at Boston the sort of talk 
which went on around him in London. ** America," he 
wrote, ** furnishes matter for dispute in coffee-houses; 
sometimes warm, but without abuse or ill-nature ; 
and there it ends. It is unfashionable, and even dis- 
reputable, to look askew on one another for difference 
of opinion in political matters. The doctrine of tolera- 
tion, if not better understood, is, thank God, better 
practised here than in America." ^ 

During the earlier years of the American conflict 
people wrangled about colonial politics for the pleasure 
of unburdening their own souls, and of hearing vigorous 
epithets, and well-worn taunts, sounded forth by their 
own voices; for they had little expectation of con- 
verting an adversary. Starting from directly opposite 
premises, they entered the lists armed respectively with 
an entirely different equipment of facts. Each man 
retailed what he found in his favourite newspaper ; and 
the newspaper which was Gospel for the one seemed a 
magazine of mendacity to the other. Whigs proclaimed 
their distrust of every statement in the " London 
Gazette," and their belief in many items of intelligence 
which they could not find in its pages. Tories as 
roundly asserted that Congress had bought the entire 
Opposition press through the agency of Arthur Lee ; — 
a Virginian, (so they described him,) who had been 
bred a physician, but had turned lawyer, and now was 
finishing as a rebel.^ Horace Walpole, with the im- 
partiality of one who accepted nothing for truth but 
what he read in a private letter, said that it was incredi- 
ble how both sides lied about the war.^ The distance 

1 Letter from a Gentleman in Somersetshire to a Friend in London ; 
October 6, 1776. 

2 yournal and Letters of the late Samuel Curwerty Edited by George 
Atkinson Ward ; New York, 1845. 

3 Letter of 9th August, 1775 ; Round MSS. 

* Walpole to Sir Horace Mann ; August 11, 1776. 


from the scene of action, and the uncertainty of com- 
munication by sailing vessels, gave unbounded scope 
to the audacity of any London penman who seasoned, 
and served up, contemporary military history in a 
form to suit his reader's palate. And so it came to 
pass that, when they were debating the events of the 
current campaign, men of contrary parties were seldom 
agreed as to the direction in which things were mov- 
ing ; although everybody admitted that they moved very 
slowly.^ Our ancestors were vehement in assertion, and 
not over choice in repartee ; but there was a point in 
most controversies when discord and contradiction ceased, 
and an appeal was made to the ordeal of the wager. 
Fifty guineas even, that the war would terminate 
before Christmas 1779 without America being inde- 
pendent of the Crown of Great Britain ; thirty guineas 
to ten that Sir William Howe was not in possession of 
Philadelphia by June 1777; twenty-five guineas for 
every three months that France remained at peace with 
England from the first of March 1779 onwards; and a 
bet of fifty guineas, to run for three years, that Lord 
North died by the hand of justice before Mr. Hancock, 
the President of the Continental Congress ; — those are 
a few authentic specimens of a characteristic national 
practice, the resort to which, at the critical moment in 
a dispute, restored the harmony of many a social 
evening, and averted the necessity of a hostile meet- 
ing at some dismally early hour on the morning of the 

Many wars have ere this been waged, not by England 
only, in pursuit of inadequate and illusory ends, and have 
been carried on long after the course of events had made 

1 " Don't you begin to think, Madam, that it is pleasanter to read 
history than to live it ? Battles are fought, and towns taken, in every 
page ; but a campaign takes six or seven months to hear, and achieves no 
great matter at last. I dare to say Alexander seemed to the coffee-houses 
of Pella a monstrous while about conquering the world. As to this 
American war, I am persuaded it will last till the end of the century." 
Walpole to the Countess of Ossory ; Strawberry Hill, October 8, 


it manifest that those ends were impossible of attainment. 
Wars of that class are the despair of historians belong- 
ing to the school which would fain account for every 
great national undertaking by a theory that the people, 
— instinctively, even if ignorantly and unconsciously, — 
are impelled by an unerring sense of the national inter- 
ests. Such wars are commenced in anger, and after- 
wards continued from obstinacy, or, it may be, from the 
necessities of self-preservation ; and the actual explosion 
generally follows close upon some striking and theatri- 
cal occurrence which evokes an eruption of moral in- 
dignation and international repugnance. In 1793 the 
execution of Louis the Sixteenth was a signal for the 
clash of arms ; and the spilling of the tea in Boston 
Harbour had, not less certainly, been the exciting cause 
of that protracted struggle which finally resulted in the 
independence of America. It will always be remem- 
bered to the credit of Pitt and Grenville that, under the 
shock of the French Revolution, they laboured gallantly, 
honestly, and perseveringly to maintain peace between 
France and England. All the while that Burke was 
preaching a crusade against the wicked Republic with a 
fury of rhetoric which took the conscience of our country 
by storm, the Prime Minister, and the Foreign Minister, 
insisted that the counsels of moderation should be heard, 
and kept their followers in hand as long as it was possi- 
ble to hold them.^ But, throughout our American 
troubles, the rulers of the British Empire exerted upon 
public opinion an exasperating, and not a restraining, 
influence. Even in the business letters which he ad- 

1 "No hour of Pitt's life," (wrote Mr. Green in his History of the Eng- 
lish People,^ " is so great as the hour when he stood, lonely and passion- 
less, before the growth of national passion, and refused to bow to the 
gathering cry for war." 

" I bless God that we had the wit to keep ourselves out of the glorious 
enterprise of the combined armies, and that we were not tempted by the 
hope of sharing the spoils in the division of France, nor by the prospect 
of crushing all democratical principles all over the world at one blow." 
That was said by Lord Grenville as late as November 1792 ; two full years 
after Burke had thrilled England by his celebrated appeal to Chivalry on 
behalf of Queen Marie Antoinette. 


dressed to Lord North the King could never write about 
New Englanders with patience. Lord Dartmouth, in- 
deed, treated the colonists with sympathy, and evinced 
a desire to ascertain and understand their own view of 
their own case ; but in that regard he was almost alone 
in the Cabinet. After the quarrel had become enven- 
omed, few members of the Government, whose words 
counted for anything, spoke of Americans in Parliament 
with respect, or even with common propriety. 

The cue was given, and the fashion set, to all partisans 
of the Court and the Ministry. Their talk, (so much as 
has reached us,) ran in a channel of considerable vio- 
lence, but of little depth. How far reconciUation was 
practicable ; by what steps, and through the employment 
of what agents and intermediaries, it might be achieved ; 
what was the judgement of contemporary Europe ; what 
were the schemes and inclinations of foreign govern- 
ments, and what would be their action if the war was 
indefinitely prolonged ; how that war affected the pros- 
perity of our own West Indian islands ; whether America 
could be subdued by force ; how long, if reconquered, 
she could be kept in subjection, and at what cost; — 
those were speculations altogether too abstract and un- 
practical to engage the attention of Lord North's sup- 
porters. The staple of their conversation, even in the 
case of men who posed as authorities on the colonial 
question, consisted in wholesale and vehement abuse of 
the disaffected colonists. James Boswell, though a sound 
Tory, entertained scruples about the right of Parliament 
to tax America. Like a good disciple he begged, and 
again begged. Doctor Johnson to clear up his misgiv- 
ings ; but on each occasion he was handled in such a 
fashion as to regret, (which was most unusual with him,) 
that he had not been discreet enough to leave burning 
topics alone. Once, however, he enjoyed the opportu- 
nity of listening to the famous teacher at a moment when 
his mind had been attuned to milder and holier thoughts. 
Johnson was maintaining, in opposition to a handsome 
and eloquent Quakeress, that friendship could not strictly 



be called a Christian virtue. He urged that, whereas 
the ancient philosophers dwelt only on the beauty of 
private friendship, Christianity recommended universal 
benevolence, and enjoined us to consider all men as our 
brothers. " Surely, Madam," he said, ** your sect must 
approve of this ; for you call all x^^xi friends '' But that 
weather was too calm to last. ** From this pleasing sub- 
ject," wrote Boswell, "he made a sudden transition. *I 
am willing,' he cried, * to love all mankind except an 
American ; ' and his inflammable corruption bursting 
into horrid fire, he breathed out threatenings and slaugh- 
ter, calling them rascals, robbers, pirates, and exclaim- 
ing that he would burn and destroy them." ^ 

Considering that he was a professed master in the 
science of ethics, Dr. Johnson's estimate of the Ameri- 
can character was not very judicial or discriminating ; 
and still less could it be expected that people, who had 
never claimed to be philosophers, should mince their 
words when they were engaged in denouncing the iniqui- 
ties of the colonists. That mattered little in a discus- 
sion with English Whigs, who gave as good as they got, 
and who were much more concerned to speak their mind 
against the Cabinet than to defend the Americans. But 
there was a class of men whose feelings were cruelly 
wounded by the tone of conversation which largely pre- 
vailed in London society ; men whom it is impossible to 
name without a tribute of respectful compassion. The 
town was full of refugees from every colony in America, 
who had sacrificed all that they possessed to their love 
for Britain, and their veneration for Britain's King. 
Their condition, sad in itself, was melancholy indeed by 
contrast to that which they had known at home. Some 
of them had been proprietors of vast districts, with 
powers and prerogatives far exceeding those of an Eng- 
lish landowner. Others had held office as Lieutenant- 
Governors of Provinces, Judges, Councillors, and 
Commissioners of Revenue. Others, again, had been 
Presidents of Colleges, or clergymen in charge of rich, 
1 The Life of Samuel J ohnsotiy Sept. 23, 1777 ; April 15, and 18, 1 778. 



and once admiring and affectionate, congregations. 
Among the five occupants of the Bench in the superior 
Court of Massachusetts all save one were Loyalists ; and 
three of them were driven into banishment. The politi- 
cal faith for which these gentlemen suffered is finely 
summarised in the epitaph on Chief Justice Oliver, the 
president of their tribunal, which may be seen in St. 
Philip's, Birmingham ; — a church standing in the very 
centre of the city, with an ample space about it, and its 
doors hospitably open to the passing stranger.^ One of 
Oliver's colleagues died in Nova Scotia, and another in 
England ; and at least five members of his family, who 
were living in Massachusetts as grown men before the 
Revolution broke out, are buried in different corners of 
our island. When General Dc Lancey of New York was 
laid in his grave a fellow-refugee said, truly enough, that 
there would be scarcely a village in England without 
some American dust in it by the time they were all at 
rest. And not in England only ; for, in the course of 
our wars against the French Republic and the French 
Empire, many American Loyalists, both of the first and 
second generation, breathed their last on the field of 
honour in one or another of our country's battles.^ 

^ The monument is erected to the Honourable Peter Oliver, formerly 
His Majesty's Chief Justice of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New 
England ; and the inscription runs : " In the year 1776, on a Dissolution 
of Government, He left his Native Country; but in all the consequent 
calamities his Magnanimity remained unshaken, and, (though the source 
of his misfortunes,) nothing could dissolve his Attachment to the British 
Government, nor lessen his love and loyalty to his Sovereign." 

2 " Mr. Flucker died suddenly in his bed yesterday morning, and it is 
the forty-fifih of the refugees from Massachusetts, within my knowledge, 
that have died in England. He was Secretary of State for Massachusetts." 
Curwen's diary ; Feb. 17, 1783. 

Wellington's Quartermaster General, who was killed at Waterloo, was 
a De Lancey of New York. Colonel James De Peyster, of the same prov- 
ince, had, as a youth, distinguished himself on the British side during the 
war of the American Revolution. In 1793 he led an assault on an almost 
impregnable French position at Lincelles in West Flanders, and was shot 
dead in the moment of victory. Those were two out of many ; for Loyalists 
of the upper class were a fighting race throughout all the colonies. Tory 
farmers and shopkeepers, and Tory mechanics, in the Northern and Central 
provinces, showed much less inclination to take up arms for their opinions. 



When Governor Hutchinson of Massachusetts was 
superseded in June 1774, many leading merchants, and 
most of the officials, united to present him with an 
Address approving his political conduct, and wishing 
him a prosperous future. Among the names attached 
to the paper was that of Samuel Curwen of Salem, 
Judge of the Admiralty for the province. Popular 
pressure was brought upon the subscribers for the pur- 
pose of inducing them to withdraw their signatures, 
and to insert in the newspapers an apology for the 
action which they had taken. Many yielded ; but 
Curwen thought it best to go elsewhere in search of 
that security, and those personal rights, which, (to use 
his own words,) by the laws of God he ought to have 
enjoyed undisturbed in his native town. His wife, not 
a little to his surprise, disliked a sea voyage more than 
she feared the Sons of Liberty ; and, in his sixtieth 
year, he sailed alone for England. He solaced his 
leisure in that country by the composition of a journal 
which presents, in subdued but distinct colours, a very 
cheerless picture of the exile's existence. 

The misery of such an existence has been sung and 
spoken in many languages, by famous people of many 
nations ; but it has never been more irksome than to 
men of our own busy and energetic race. Among 
those men, the New England refugees belonged pre- 
cisely to the class upon whom the trials and discomforts 
of banishment pressed the heaviest. In America they 
had been important personages, successful already, or 
on a sure ^nd easy road to success ; wealthy according 
to the standard of the community in which they resided ; 
and with every day of their life filled and dignified by 
serious occupations. But in England they were no- 
bodies, with nothing in the world to do. It is true that 
the sights of London were there to be admired, if only 
they had the heart to relish them. They attended 
as spectators at numerous processions characteristic of 
the period and the country. They saw their Majesties 
returning from a Drawing-room in sedan-chairs ; the 



King in very light cloth, with silver buttons, and the 
Queen in lemon-coloured flowered silk on cream-coloured 
ground. They saw the milkmaids and chimney-sweeps 
keep May-day in all its ancient splendour, with many 
hundred pounds' worth of silver plate disposed amid 
an enormous pyramid of foliage and garlands. They 
watched five couple of young persons chained together, 
walking under the care of tip-staves to Bridewell. They 
visited the British Museum, and examined the Alexan- 
drine Manuscript. Readers of Shakespeare, like all of 
their countrymen who read anything, they made an ex- 
pedition to the Boar's Head tavern in the City for the 
sake of Falstaff, and into Hertfordshire in order to 
inspect the great Bed of Ware.^ They heard blind Sir 
John Fielding administer justice at Bow Street. They 
were present when the Reverend Doctor Dodd, at the 
Magdalen Hospital, delivered a discourse which set the 
whole chapel crying, not much more than a twelve- 
month before he preached his own Condemned Sermon 
in Newgate gaol. They saw Garrick in tragedy ; and 
were crushed, and buffeted, and almost stifled, for the 
space of two hours at the Pit door of Drury Lane 
theatre in a vain attempt to see him in comedy. They 
dined with the ex-Governor of Massachusetts, and met 
each other ; and with the ex- Attorney General, and 
met each other again. They sought distraction in the 
provinces, and made a round of manufacturing towns, 
and cathedrals, and feudal castles, and romantic pros- 
pects. They explored Blenheim, and Old Sarum, and 
Stonehenge, and the inn at Upton where Tom Jones 
found Sophia Western's muff with the little paper pinned 
to it. But all was to no purpose. After eighteen months 
spent in surveying the wonders and beauties of the 
mother country with sad and weary eyes. Judge Curwen 
pronounced, as the conclusion of the whole matter, that 
his flight to England had been a dreadful and irrepara- 
ble mistake. The tyranny of an unruly rabble, when 
endured beneath a man's own roof, with a plentiful purse 

1 Twelfth Night; Act IV., Scene 2. 


and all his friends around him, was, (he confessed,) an 
enviable fate compared to liberty under the mildest gov- 
ernment on earth, when accompanied by poverty, with 
its horrid train of evils.^ 

The American exiles, with very few exceptions, were 
bitterly poor.^ Curwen found London "a sad lickpenny," 
where the vital air could not be breathed unless at great 
expense. Everything was ruinously dear, — the lodg- 
ing ; the food ; the wine, without the production of which 
no business could be transacted, and no visitor hon- 
oured; and, above all, the fuel. In January 1776 there 
came a cold Sunday, when the Thames bore, and the 
mercury stood at eight degrees below zero. " The fires 
here," Curwen wrote, " are not to be compared to our 
large American ones of oak and walnut. Would that 
I was away ! " Numerous applications to the Treasury 
by Loyalists, who had stronger claims than his, excluded 
him from the most distant hope of relief. To beg from 
chance acquaintance was humiliating, "and to starve 
was stupid;" and so, — with a mild stroke of sarcasm 
against Seneca and the long list of moralists, heathen 
and Christian, who wrote most edifying treatises on the 
duty of contentment and resignation, but had never 
known what it was to want a meal, — he went into 
a cheap and dull retirement at Exeter, where he kept 
body and soul together on something less than half a 
guinea a week.^ John Wentworth, who had been for- 
merly Governor of New Hampshire, resided in Europe 
all through the Revolution. He was received with ex- 
ceptional favour by the Ministry and by the King ; and 
yet he esteemed the lot of an exile, at the very best, to 

1 Samuel Curwen to the Hon. Judge Sewall; Exeter, Jan. 19, 1777. 

2 One of these exceptions was Charles Steuart, a rich tobacco-merchant 
of Norfolk in Virginia. Steuart, contrary to all intention of his own, did a 
memorable service to liberty; for he brought with him from America the 
negro Somerset, whose name will always recall Lord Mansfield's declara- 
tion of the principle that our free soil makes a free man. 

^Letters to the Rev<i Isaac Smith, June 6, 1776; to Dr. Charles 
Russell of Antigua, June 10, 1776 ; and to the Hon. Judge Sewall, Dec. 31, 


be all but intolerable. When the war was over, he 
thought himself bound to give the benefit of his experi- 
ence to those unhappy Loyalists who still lingered on 
their native soil, stripped of all their property, and 
exposed to the insults of triumphant and unforgiving 
adversaries. However distressing might be their plight, 
he earnestly recommended no one to seek a refuge in 
England who could get clams and potatoes in America. 
'* My destination," he added, '* is quite uncertain. Like 
an old flapped hat, thrown off the top of a house, I am 
tumbling over and over in the air, and God only knows 
where I shall finally alight and settle." ^ 

The affection of the Massachusetts Loyalists for the 
chief town of their province grew with absence, and only 
ceased at death. A distinguished Nova Scotia states- 
man, the son of a refugee, has given a pleasant and 
spirited account of his father's unalterable attachment 
to the city of his birth, which had cast him out. In 1775 
John Howe, who then was just of age, had served his 
apprenticeship as a printer, and, like a true young 
American, was already engaged to be married ; and yet 
"he left all his household goods and gods behind him, 
carrying away nothing but his principles, and his pretty 
girl."^ He settled at Halifax and prospered. Though 
a true Briton, he made no shame of loving Boston with 
a filial regard. While the conflict between England and 
the revolted colonies was still at its height, John Howe 

1 Sabine's Loyalists ; Vol I., page 322, and Vol. II., page 10. In the 
American Archives there is a letter addressed by Thomas Oliver to a friend 
who had escaped from Boston to Nova Scotia. " Happy am I," (Oliver 
wrote from London,) " that you did not leave Halifax to encounter the 
expenses of this extravagant place. Every article of expense is increased 
fourfold since you knew it. What the poor people will do, who have 
steered their course this way, I cannot tell. I found Mrs. Oliver well, and 
settled in a snug little house at Brompton, in the neighbourhood of Lon- 
don; but I shall continue here no longer than I am able to find an eco- 
nomical retreat. I have no time to look about me as yet. Some cheaper 
part of England must be the object of my enquiry." 

^ The words are quoted from a speech delivered by the Honourable 
Joseph Howe in Faneuil Hall, Boston, on the Fourth of July, 1858. Joseph 
Howe was Secretary of the Province, and leader of the Liberal party, in 
Nova Scotia. 


did every kindness in his power to American prisoners 
of war, if only they were Boston men ; and, far into the 
nineteenth century, whenever he was in poor health, his 
family, as an infallible remedy, shipped the old fellow off 
southwards to get a walk on Boston Common. Wher- 
ever a banished New Englander wandered, and what- 
ever he saw, his model of excellence, and his standard 
for comparison, was always the capital of Massachusetts. 
At Exeter, according to Judge Curwen's calculation, the 
inhabitants were seven-eighths as numerous as at Boston; 
but the city was not so elegantly built, and stood on 
much less ground. Birmingham, in its general appear- 
ance, looked more like Boston, to his eyes, than any 
other place in England. There was something very 
pathetic in the feeling with which the exiles regarded 
the home where they never again might dwell. Awake, 
or in dreams, their thoughts were for ever recurring to 
old Boston days ; they tried to beheve that a more or 
less distant future would bring those good times back 
for themselves and their families ; and they industriously 
collected every scrap of news which came by letter from 
a town where their places had already been filled by 
others, and their names were by-words. Assailed by the 
fierce and implacable hostility of their own fellow-citizens, 
and treated too often with contemptuous indifference in 
England, they tasted the force of that verse in the Book 
of Proverbs which says : " The brethren of the poor do 
hate him. How much more do his friends go far from 
him ! He pursueth them with words, but they are want- 
ing unto him." 

For, in one important particular, a painful disillusion 
awaited the exiles at their arrival on our shores. They 
had anticipated the enjoyment of much rational and 
sympathetic intercourse with the most select and the best 
of company. In their own country, — since the troubles 
began, and the Stamp Act, and afterwards the Tea-duty, 
had been to the fore in every conversation, — they had 
been alarmed by the spread of Republicanism, and in- 
finitely disgusted by the manners of some who pro- 


mulgated that novel and hated creed. The father of 
Mrs. Grant of Laggan, for instance, had acquired a 
large property in Vermont, which he called by the name 
of Clarendon, and liked to describe as a Baronial estate. 
But social tendencies in New England, (if ever they had 
taken that direction,) now altogether ceased to point 
towards the formation of an aristocracy. " My father," 
wrote Mrs. Grant, "grew fonder than ever of fishing 
and shooting, because birds and fish did not talk of 
tyranny and taxes. Sometimes we were refreshed by 
the visit of friends who spoke respectfully of our dear 
King and dearer country \ but they were soon succeeded 
by some Obadiah, or Zephaniah, from Hampshire or 
Connecticut, who came in without knocking, sate down 
without invitation, lighted his pipe without ceremony, 
and began a discourse on politics that would have done 
honour to Praise God Barebones." ^ In contrast to all 
that seemed vulgar and offensive to them in America, 
the emigrants had beguiled themselves with an ideal 
picture of the welcome which they would receive from 
the refined society of England. A writer unequalled 
in his acquaintance with the surface aspects of the Revo- 
lution, and not less observant of the inward causes which 
then governed the ebb and flow of political opinion, has 
remarked that a prodigious obstacle to the Whig cause 
in the colonies was the worldly prestige, "the purple 
dignity, the aristocratic flavour," of the Tory side of the 
question. 2 To live familiarly amid such associations, to 

1 In order to escape this infliction, the Lord of the Manor of Clarendon 
retreated to his native Scotland in the summer of 1770 ; and, before very 
long, every acre that he left behind him in America had been confiscated. 

^ These are the epithets used by Professor Tyler, in the 30th chapter 
of his Literary History. He there quotes an account by P>ancis Hop- 
kinson, the Whig humourist, of a lady who did not possess one political 
principle, nor had any precise idea of the real cause of the contest between 
Great Britain and America ; and who yet was a professed and confirmed 
Tory, merely from the fascination of sounds. The Imperial Crown, the 
Royal Robes, the High Court of Parliament, the Lord Chancellor of Eng- 
land, were names of irresistible influence ; while captains and colonels 
who were tailors and tavern-keepers, and even the respectable personality 
of General Washington the Virginian farmer, provoked her unqualified 



DC at home in such circles, to be recognised as the mar- 
tyrs of loyalty within the very precincts of the shrine 
where the object of their worship dwelt, — such privi- 
leges would go far to compensate the expatriated Loyal- 
ists for all that they had endured and sacrificed. 

Their disappointment was in proportion to their ex- 
pectations. They found the upper class of Great Britain 
absorbed in its own affairs, and intent upon pleasures 
most uncongenial to a plain and frugal American on 
account of the money they cost, the amount of time 
they consumed, and the scandal which not unfrequently 
attended them. In 1790 the French emigrants, who 
sought sanctuary across the British Channel, experi- 
enced much comfort and advantage from the fraternity 
which had long existed between the nobility of France 
and of England; but in 1775 the knowledge that a 
stranger came from Boston, — whether of his own accord, 
or because he could not help it, — was a poor introduc- 
tion to the good graces of Almack's, of Newmarket, and 
of Ranelagh. The Bostonian habit of mind, according 
to the language then in vogue, was marked by " the low 
cunning of a petty commercial people ; ^' and the mere 
circumstance that a citizen of the obnoxious town was a 
Tory, instead of a Whig, did not exempt him from the 
social consequences of that sweeping criticism. A ghost 
at a banquet was hardly more out of place than a sober 
and melancholy New Englander in a St. James's Street 
Club. George Selwyn, and his like, had little use for a 
companion who, when people of fashion were mentioned, 
did not know to what county they belonged, or with what 
families they were connected ; who had never in his life 
amused himself on a Sunday, and not much on any day 
of the week ; who was easily shocked, and whose purse 
was slender. The hand of charity, (Judge Curwen said,) 
was very cold ; and the barriers which fenced in the inti- 
macy of the titled and the powerful were all but im- 
penetrable. More than twelve months after he first 
landed at Dover, the diarist noted, as a very uncommon 
event, that he had a free conversation with a couple of 


very affable gentlemen ; ** the better sort of gentry being 
too proud or reserved to mix with those whom they did 
not know, or to indulge in a promiscuous chat." ^ 

Loyalist emigrants, who desired to talk American 
politics with Englishmen from the English point of view, 
were thrown back upon the casual acquaintances of the 
coffee-house, the stage-coach, and the inn parlour. Re- 
cruiting-officers, commercial travellers, tradesmen on a 
surburban jaunt, and gentlemen of the turf on the road 
to a race-meeting, were among those with whom they 
frequently were reduced to consort. The allusions to 
their own country, by which on such occasions they 
were regaled, though not discourteously meant,^ affected 
them with more pain than pleasure ; for they consisted 
mainly in sweeping denunciations of vengeance against 
the New England people, and blatant depreciation of 
the New England character. More than once an exile 
confessed that he felt nowhere so much at ease as in 
the company of quiet middle-class citizens of Bir- 
mingham or Bristol who were opponents of the war ; 
for there, at all events, whatever difference of opinion 
might exist between the guest and his hosts, he was 
sure of hearing nothing said which grated on his feel- 
ings. Over and over again, in public vehicles and in 
places of general resort, the refugees would gladly have 
taken their share in a reasonable talk about the equity 
of demanding that the colonies should contribute 
towards the expenses of our empire, and the importance 
to America of retaining her connection with Great 
Britain ; but the dialogue almost always took such a 
turn that, before half a dozen sentences had been 
spoken, they were forced by their self-respect as Amer- 
icans to assume the cudgels against defamers of their 
nation. Judge Curwen, while journeying from the West 

1 June lo, and July 13, 1776. 

"^ Curwen was only once subjected to direct and intentional imperti- 
nence. " In our way through Long Row we were attacked by the viru- 
lent tongue of a vixen, who saluted us by the name of * damned American 
rebels.'" — Curwen' s Journal ; Bristol, June 17, 1777. 



by way of Tewkesbury, met an officer who allowed him- 
self great liberties respecting America. " I took the 
freedom of giving him several severe checks ; and my 
companion spared not till he was thoroughly silenced 
and humbled. He said many ungenerous, foolish, and 
false things, and I did not forbear telling him so." In 
December 1776 a Mr. Lloyd of the Twentieth Regi- 
ment, who had just arrived from Canada, treated the 
New England Loyalists to a discourse which he no 
doubt sincerely intended as a compliment to themselves, 
and a tribute to their political views. "He speaks," 
said Curwen, " of the Yankees, (as he is pleased to call 
them,) as cowards, poltroons, cruel, and possessing 
every bad quality the depraved heart can be cursed 
with. It is my earnest wish the despised Americans 
may convince these conceited islanders, by some knock- 
down irrefragable argument, that, without regular stand- 
ing armies, our continent can furnish brave soldiers and 
expert commanders ; for then, and not till then, may we 
expect generous or fair treatment. It piques my pride, 
I confess, to hear us called * our Colonies, ^^r Plantations,' 
with such airs as if our property and persons were abso- 
lutely theirs, like the villains in the old feudal system." ^ 
Those were strange sayings in the mouth of a man 
who had broken up his life, and wrecked his happiness, 
because he would not side with the colonists in the 
attitude which they had adopted towards the mother- 
country. The most distressing element in the lot of 
the emigrants was that they had always been animated, 
and now were tortured, by a double patriotism ; for 
they were condemned to stand by, idle and powerless, 
while the two nations, which they equally loved, were 
tearing at each other's vitals. Symptoms of the 
conflict between loyalty to Britain, and affection for 
America, are visible on every page of Judge Curwen's 
Journal, and in every paragraph of his correspondence. 
He rejoiced at having justice done to his countrymen 
by an English officer of character in Sir Guy Carle ton's 

^ Curwen's Journal ; Sept. 11, and Dec. 18, 1776. 


army, who testified that Arnold and the Provincials 
had displayed great bravery in the battle on Lake 
Champlain, but had been out-matched by superior 
weight of metal. He expressed himself as not a little 
mortified when, standing on a height which overlooked 
Plymouth Harbour, he saw a captured American priva- 
teer brought round from Dartmouth ; nor were his 
ears a little wounded when they were condemned to 
hear another such prize sold at open auction. He noted 
with despair the determination of the King and his 
advisers to overwhelm and ruin the rebellious colonies. 
** Would to God," he cried, **that moderate and just 
views of the real interests of both countries might pos- 
sess the minds of those who direct the public measures 
here, and there ! The language of the Court, (the 
papers say,) is, as it ever has been, Delcfida est Carthago. 
If this be not slander, woe betide my poor country." ^ 
At last, when Lord North and his colleagues began to 
reap the fruits of their senseless policy in a harvest of 
national perils, Curwen's fears for America, though 
none the less gloomy, became overshadowed by his 
anxiety about the future of England. In March 1778 
he heard '* the dreaded sound, War declared against 
France." Some few days before, he had written to a 
Birmingham friend that, when he contemplated the 
decline and fall of great and powerful states, — and the 
causes of that decline which, in the history of the world, 
were uniformly the same, — he could not recall to his 
mind the commanding and secure position of Great 
Britain four years since, as compared with the present 
alarming crisis, without horror and trembling. ** May 
my apprehensions," he said, ** exist only in imagination ! 
I had rather be a mistaken man than a true prophet."^ 

Those apprehensions about the stability of the British 
power, which racked the imagination of the banished 

'^Journal of Dec. 21, 1776, and Feb. 28, 1777. Letter to the Reverend 
Isaac Smith, Jan. 17, 1778. 

^Journal of March 20, and letter of March 16, 1778. 



American, were always present to the minds of Eng- 
lishmen who had watched many wars, who knew the 
continent of Europe, who cared for their country, 
and who understood that country's interests. Horace 
Walpole, in more than one manly and thoughtful pas- 
sage, reviewed the long correspondence with his old 
friend at Florence which had begun when his own 
father was still Prime Minister ; had continued while 
England was " down at Derby, and up at Minden ; " and 
was still in progress now that she had dashed herself, 
(so he sorrowfully declared,) below the point to which no 
natural law of gravitation could have thrown her in the 
course of a century.^ The middle portion, said Walpole, 
of that correspondence had been the most agreeable. 
Its earlier part was the journal of a civil war, when an 
army of Scottish rebels penetrated almost unopposed 
into the very centre of the island. Fifteen years after- 
wards, — when our generals marched, and our fleets 
sailed, under Chatham's auspices, — it was his proud 
and pleasant task to recount victory upon victory, and 
conquest upon conquest ; but for the last five years his 
letters had been the records of a mouldering kingdom. 
The ministers, indeed, encouraged their countrymen by 
recalling how England had more than once maintained 
herself successfully against both France and Spain ; but, 
(said Walpole,) we on former occasions had America as 
a weight in our scale of the balance, whereas now it 
was in theirs ; and moreover we then possessed a Lord 
Chatham, who did not seem to have been replaced. 
** As I have no great faith," he subsequently wrote, " in 
virtue tempted by power, I expect that the American 
leaders will not easily part with dictatorships and con- 
sulships to retire to their private ploughs. Oh, madness 
to have squandered away such an empire ! " ^ 

Predictions of that sort were no new things ; and 
people endeavoured to relieve their uneasiness by re- 
minding each other how there never had been a time 

1 Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann ; Sept. 5, 1779. 

2 Walpole to Mann, May 27, 1776 ; June 16, 1779. 


of serious public danger when somebody did not sin- 
cerely believe that the country was on the verge of de- 
struction. Sir John Sinclair, — the prince of busybodies, 
— brought Adam Smith the news of Saratoga, and 
added, on his own account, that the nation was now 
ruined. " There is a great deal of ruin in a nation," 
was the philosopher's quiet reply ; ^ and yet Sir John 
Sinclair might well have proved to be in the right, if 
George the Third had pursued his course to the end, 
unchecked. The prophets of evil, for once in a way, 
were the wise men ; and their predictions would un- 
doubtedly have been fulfilled to the letter, had it not 
been for a contingency which the most sanguine pa- 
triots did not venture confidently to anticipate. How 
long the end would have been in coming no man for- 
tunately now can tell ; but, in the long run, the policy 
of the Court must have been fatal to the country unless 
Parliament had taken the matter into its own hands, 
and insisted on composing the quarrel with America. 
Parliament, however, during many sessions seemed to 
have been effectually bribed into acquiescence ; and the 
means at the disposal of the Treasury for gratifying 
the cupidity of venal politicians grew in proportion to 
the growing expenditure on military and naval opera- 
tions. Every new expedition to the Carolinas or the 
West India seas, and every fresh enemy who came 
against us in Europe, increased the mass of profits from 
loans, and lotteries, and contracts which was available 
for being divided among supporters of the Government. 
The war fed corruption, and corruption kept on foot 
the war; but there was something in the English nature 
whereon George the Third and the Bedfords had not 
counted ; and two successive Parliaments, which had 
both begun very badly, shook themselves free from 
the trammels of self-interest and servility, defied their 
taskmasters, and saved their country. 

The scholarship at our universities in the earlier days 
of George the Third was less severely accurate than it 

^ Life of Adam Smithy by John Rae ; chapter xxii. 


became during the first fifty years of the succeeding 
century; but many English gentlemen, not only at 
college, but in after life, read Latin as they read 
French ; and every one who pretended to literature had 
a fair knowledge of ancient history, and a clear con- 
ception with regard to the personal identity, and the 
relative authority and merit, of the most famous Greek 
authors. It was well understood that the narratives of 
Xenophon and Polybius, of Sallust and Suetonius, owed 
much of their peculiar excellence to the fact that those 
writers had been alive during at least some part of the 
periods which they treated ; and had been acquainted 
with not a few of the warriors and rulers whose actions 
they immortalised, or whose mistakes and crimes they 
condemned. Despairing English patriots, who correctly 
predicted a succession of disasters, but who did not 
foresee that the public ruin would ultimately be averted 
by a resurrection of national common-sense, looked 
around them for an historian who might undertake the 
melancholy task of chronicling the misfortunes of Eng- 
land. They sought a Tacitus ; and they thought to 
have discovered one, ready to their hand, in Doctor 
William Robertson, whose ** History of Scotland " had 
founded his position as an author, and whose *' History 
of Charles the Fifth " had won him a European name. 
Robertson had for some years been occupied with the 
earlier annals of America, and was steadily approaching 
the point where he would come into contact with the 
great political question of the hour ; for the first instal- 
ment of his work, which appeared in 1777, brought him 
much more than half-way between Christopher Columbus 
and Charles Townshend. The hopes excited in the 
reading world are indicated by Edmund Burke, in 
language on a higher level than is often reached by a 
letter of thanks for a presentation copy. "There re- 
mains before you a great field. I am heartily sorry we 
are now supplying you with that kind of dignity and 
concern which is purchased to history at the expense of 
mankind. I had rather, by far, that Doctor Robertson's 



pen were employed only in delineating the humble 
scenes of political economy, and not the great events 
of a civil war. However, if our statesmen had read the 
book of human nature instead of the Journals of the 
House of Commons, and history instead of Acts of 
Parliament, we should not by the latter have furnished 
out so ample a page in the former. . . . Adieu, Sir ! 
Continue to instruct the world, and, — whilst ze^^ carry 
on a poor unequal conflict with the passions and preju- 
dices of our day, perhaps with no better weapons than 
other passions and prejudices of our own, — convey 
wisdom to future generations."^ 

Robertson's '* America " was ransacked greedily by 
people who hoped to discover in its pages satirical 
references to current events, and arch strokes against 
the politicians of their own time. But the admirable 
historians whom that generation produced, both in 
Edinburgh and in London, habitually refrained from 
those contemporary allusions which a French writer has 
stigmatised as the sidelong leers of history, in contra- 
distinction to her straightforward and honest glances 
into the facts of the past. In his account of the settle- 
ment of the Western Continent, Doctor Robertson had 
much to say about the projects of Las Casas, and much 
about James the First and Sir Walter Raleigh ; but 
there was not a phrase which could be twisted into a 
covert expression of his views on the Declaratory Act 
or the Boston Port Bill. Sedate and sagacious Scotch 
divine that he was, he had no intention whatever of 
diving into a perilous controversy which he was not 
enough of a partisan even to enjoy. Although he con- 
sidered the Americans premature in asserting their 
independence, he none the less was of opinion that the 
whole matter had been sadly mismanaged by the Cab- 
inet.2 It must not be forgotten that Doctor Robertson 
was the King's Historiographer for Scotland. The 

^ Edmund Burke, Esq., to Doctor Robertson ; June lo, 1777. 
* Letter from Doctor Robertson of October 6, 1 775, as printed in Section 
III. of his Life by Dugald Stewart. 



emolument, indeed, was of no object to him in compari- 
son with the profits of literature ; for his '* Charles the 
Fifth " alone had produced a sum of money which 
amounted to twice the capital value of his official salary. 
Nor, as he on more than one occasion gave honourable 
proof, was he afraid of speaking his mind when he con- 
ceived reticence to be unworthy of his station and his 
character. But the post of Historiographer had been 
revived, with the King's consent and at the King's cost, 
as a particular compliment to Robertson himself; and 
he was not disposed to requite his Majesty's favour by 
recording, for the information of all time, the improvi- 
dence and incapacity of his Majesty's ministers. 

Robertson had a stronger reason yet for circum- 
spection and caution in his reluctance to begin telling a 
story whose catastrophe was still hidden in the unknown 
future. His professional pride as an historian forbade 
him to put forward theories, and deliver judgements, 
which the issue might show to be erroneous, and even 
ridiculous. In whatever manner, (so he wrote in the 
preface to the first volume of his History,) the unhappy 
contest might terminate, a new order of things must 
arise in North America, and American affairs would 
assume quite another aspect. He would therefore "wait, 
with the solicitude of a good citizen, until the ferment 
subsided, and regular government was again estab- 
lished." When those days arrived Robertson must 
expect to be over sixty ; and an extensive history, 
commenced at that time of life, is too often not so much 
a tribute to Clio as an excuse to Charon. The Latin 
saying, which warns the artist that life is brief, came 
forcibly home to one who had so continuously and con- 
scientiously practised the very longest among all the 

Robertson apart, of the triumvirate of noted British 
historians Gibbon and David Hume remained ; but 
Hume did not remain long. He died on the twenty- 
fifth of August, 1776, and met his fate with a cheerful 
serenity which deeply scandalised some excellent persons 



who had pleased themselves by conceiving a very dif- 
ferent picture of the sceptic's death-bed.^ But, though 
without any uneasiness as to what might befall himself, 
he passed away in the conviction that immense dangers 
overhung the country. A stronger Tory than George 
the Third, Hume had not allowed his views and preju- 
dices concerning home politics to blind his insight into 
colonial questions. The most caustic remarks about 
the folly of alienating the Americans, and the impossi- 
bility of subduing them, came from the pen, not of any 
Whig or Wilkite, but of David Hume ; and Hume was 
a Jacobite who would have been heartily pleased if the 
King had hanged Wilkes, had shot down the Liverymen 
and their apprentices by hundreds, and then, after 
making a terrible example of London, had announced 
his intention of reigning ever afterwards in Stuart 
fashion. 2 The autumn before his death Hume was 
requested to draw up an Address to the Crown from the 
county of Renfrew ; but he declined, on the ground 
that he was an American in principle, and wished that 
the colonists should be let alone to govern, or misgovern, 
themselves as they thought proper. If, (such was the 
form that his suggestion took,) the inhabitants of the 
county felt it indispensably necessary to interpose in 
public affairs, they should advise the King to punish 
those insolent rascals in London and Middlesex who 
had set at nought his authority, and should dutifully 
inform him that Lord North, though an estimable 
gentleman, had no head for great military operations. 

^ Any mention of the calmness and equanimity with which Hume 
departed this life never failed to arouse in Doctor Johnson very opposite 
emotions. Adam Smith had borne testimony to the tranquillity of 
his friend's closing hours ; and Johnson could not forgive him. Sir 
Walter Scott's account of the interview at Glasgow between the two 
philosophers, in spite of the serious nature of the topic, is a gem of 
comedy. Note to Croker's edition of Boswell's Tour to the Hebrides^ 
under the date of the 29th October, 1773. 

^ Hume prayed that he might see the scoundrelly mob vanquished, 
and a third of London in ruins. " I think," he wrote, " I am not too old 
to despair of being witness to all these blessings." Hume to Sir Gilbert 
Elliot ; 22nd June, 1768. 


"These," (he said,) " are objects worthy of the respect- 
able county of Renfrew ; not mauling the poor unfor- 
tunate Americans in the other hemisphere."^ 

Gibbon, indeed, was still in his prime ; but he did 
not even contemplate the notion of exchanging the 
colossal literary undertaking, to which he looked for 
the establishment of his fame and the improvement of 
his modest fortune, for such a hypothetical theme as 
the decline and fall of England. He had no inclination 
to leave untold the defeat of Attila at Chalons, and the 
siege of Constantinople by Mahomet the Second, in 
order to expend his gorgeous rhetoric over the battle 
at Monmouth Court House, or the investment and 
evacuation of Boston. His political opponents, who 
likewise were his constant and familiar associates, 
professed to discover a less respectable motive for his 
unwillingness to transfer his historical researches into 
another field. 

" King George, in a fright 
Lest Gibbon should write 

The story of England's disgrace, 
Thought no way so sure 
His pen to secure 

As to give the historian a place." 

The little poem, whereof that is the first stanza, has been 
attributed to Charles Fox, and most certainly it 
emanated from Brooks's Club ; an institution which 
contained a group of witty and scholarly men of the 
world who, — as the graceful, flowing verse of the 

^ Letter to Baron Mure; Oct. 27, 1775. Hume was closely connected 
with John Crawford, the friend of Charles Fox and the Member for Ren- 
frewshire. It was Crawford who induced young Lord Tavistock to read 
Hume's History, which the Duke of Bedford, a careful Whig parent, had 
forbidden his son and heir to open. 

A very few months before his death Hume confided to his most 
intimate friend his belief that England was on the verge of decline, and 
pronounced himself unable to give any reason for the complete absence 
of administrative genius, civil and military, which marked the period. 
John Home's Diary of his Journey to London in company with David 
Hume; April 30, 1 776. 




Rolliad very soon made manifest, — literally thought in 
rhyme. Brooks's had an exceedingly strong case against 
Gibbon. In the first stages of the American Revolu- 
tion he was a staunch, though a silent, adherent of the 
Ministry ; but he consorted mainly with the Opposition, 
among whom he found that which, to his excellent 
taste, was the best company in London.^ He belonged 
to the club as of right ; for, great man of letters 
though Gibbon was, he never ceased to be a recognised 
personage in the world of fashion. He wrote his 
letters at Brooks's ; he supped there, or at Almack's, 
after the House of Commons was up for the night ; and 
he freely accepted the condition on which alone it was 
possible to enjoy good Whig society, inasmuch as he 
listened tolerantly, — and, (as time progressed,) even 
complacently, — to orthodox Whig views, "Charles 
Fox," he wrote, "is now at my elbow, declaiming on 
the impossibility of keeping America, since a victorious 
army has been unable to maintain any extent of posts 
in the single province of Jersey."^ 

Gibbon, — to whom usually, at this period of their 
acquaintance, Fox was "Charles," and nothing more 
distant or ceremonious, — loved the young statesman, 
and never tired of hearing him discourse. The his- 
torian, however, did not need any one to teach him the 
deductions which his own bright and powerful intellect 
drew from a contemplation of the political facts. 
Gibbon's familiar epistles already frankly indicated that 
he had begun to pass through the mental process which, 
sooner or later, was traversed by almost every sensible 
man in the country whose perceptions were not dis- 
torted by the promptings of self-interest. Even before 
Saratui;"a he had serious qualms. In August 1777 he 

^ " This moment Beauclerk, Lord Ossory, Sheridan, Garrick, Burke, 
Charles Fox, and Lord Camden, (no bad set, you will perhaps say,) have 
left me." Gibbon to J. B. Ilolroyd, Esq. ; Saturday night, 14th March, 
1778. "I have been hard at work since dinner," (he wrote elsewhere,) 
"and am just setting out for Lady Payne's Assembly; after which I wiU 
perhaps sup with Charles, etcetera, at Almack's." 

^ Almack's ; Wednesday evening, March 5, 1777. 


spoke of himself as having found it much easier to 
defend the justice, than the policy, of the ministerial 
measures ; and, — in a phrase worthy to stand among 
the weightiest that he ever printed, — he admitted that 
there were certain cases where whatever was repugnant 
to sound policy ceased to be just. In the following 
December, Gibbon had got to the point of saying that, 
however the Government might resolve, he could scarcely 
give his consent to exhaust still further the finest country 
in the world by the prosecution of a war whence no 
reasonable man entertained any hope of success ; in 
February 1778 he stated it as his opinion that Lord 
North did not deserve pardon for the past, applause for 
the present, nor confidence for the future ; and on one 
critical occasion he passed from word to action, and 
voted with Fox in a division bearing on the conduct of 
the war.^ None the less, in the summer of the next 
year, he became a Lord Commissioner of Trade and 
Plantations. He joined a Board where, according to 
Edmund Burke, eight members of Parliament received 
salaries of a thousand pounds a year apiece for doing 
nothing except mischief, and not very much even of 
that;^ and thenceforward, as by contract bound, he 
acted with the ministers. His story curiously illustrated 
the artificial and mechanical character of the support 
which enabled the Court to prolong the American war 
in opposition to the genuine wish of the people. Eleven 

^ On February the 2nd, 1778, Gibbon was in a minority of 165 to 259 
on Fox's motion, "That no more of the Old Corps be sent out of the 

2 Burke's Speech on presenting to the House of Commons a Plan for the 
better Security of the Independence of Parliament^ and the Economical 
Reformation of the Civil and other Establishments. The passage relating 
to the Board of Trade and Plantations, — in itself a treasury of wit and 
wisdom, — covered a twelfth part of that vast oration, and must have taken 
twenty minutes to deliver. " I can never forget the delight with which 
that diffusive and ingenious orator was heard by all sides of the House, 
and even by those whose existence he proscribed. The Lords of Trade 
blushed at their own insignificance." That good-humoured confession is 
from a note in the most comprehensive of Gibbon's numerous Autobio- 


days before accepting office, Gibbon, in Brooks's Club, 
had informed as many of the members as stood within 
hearing that there could be no salvation for the country 
until the heads of six of the principal persons in the 
Administration were laid upon the table. That trucu- 
lent sentence was carefully entered by Charles Fox in 
his copy of the " Decline and Fall," with the addition 
of some biting comments. Two years afterwards an 
execution took place at Fox's house, and all the volumes 
in his library were sold by auction; — whether he had 
acquired them on credit at a shop, or, (which was the 
case here,) as a present from the author. Poor Charles's 
autograph enhanced the value of the History. " Such," 
wrote Walpole, " was the avidity of bidders for the 
smallest production of so wonderful a genius that, by 
the addition of this little record, the book sold for three 
guineas." ^ 

In default of these great authors whose names are 
still known, and whose works are still read, expectation 
was for a while concentrated upon a writer who then 
lived in a halo of celebrity which is now dim almost to 
extinction. Mrs. Catherine Macaulay, the sister of 
Lord Mayor Sawbridge, had for many years past been 
giving to the press a History of England from the 
Accession of the Stuart Family. Each successive 
volume was hailed by able, learned, and even cynical, 
men, (if only they were Whigs,) with admiration and 
delight quite incomprehensible to modern students. 
Mason pronounced Mrs. Macaulay's book the one 
history of England which he had thought it worth his 
while to purchase, and confessed his national pride to be 
gratified when he learned that, although her husband's 
name was Scotch, she herself had been born of English 
parents. Gray ranked her above every previous author 

^ Last Journals ; June 20, 1781. Anthony Storer, writing to Lord 
Carlisle, gave a somewhat different account of the matter. " Charles's 
books, which were seized, were sold this week. Gibbon's book, which 
contained the manuscript note by Charles, was smuggled from the sale ; 
for, though Charles wished to have sold it, yet it never was put up. 
He bought in most of his books for almost nothing." 



who had attempted the same subject, and thereby gave 
her the preference over Clarendon, Hume, and Burnet ; ^ 
and Horace Walpole endorsed Gray's estimate in the 
most unqualified language. George, Lord Lyttelton, 
the historian of Henry the Second, said that she was a 
prodigy, — solemnly and sincerely, as he said every- 
thing, — and exhorted mankind to erect statues in her 
honour. Portraits of Mrs. Macaulay, in fancy characters, 
and by engravers of note, were on every print-seller's 
counter; and an artist came over from America ex- 
pressly in order to model her and Lord Chatham in wax. 
She was one of the sights which foreigners were carried 
to see in London ; and she met with flattering attentions 
in Paris, where England was so much in fashion that 
current English reputations were taken unreservedly, 
and sometimes even rapturously, on trust. Among the 
more audacious thinkers in the society of the French capi- 
tal enthusiasm was ecstatic with regard to a lady who 
was a republican by conviction, and the severity of whose 
strictures upon a State clergy were not prompted by the 
narrowness or fanaticism of a religious sectary.^ 

Overrated by some clever judges, and adulated by 
many foolish people in exceedingly foolish ways, Cath- 
erine Macaulay was at the height of her repute when 
the American controversy was developed into a war. 
In one month of 1776 three set panegyrics on her tal- 
ents and deserts appeared in the columns of a single 
London newspaper.^ Readers were keenly excited by 
her promise of a " History of England from the Revolu- 

^ So did not Lord Macaulay. An industrious, but not very discerning, 
critic had remarked that Bishop Burnet's History of His Own Times was 
of a class with the works of Oldmixon, Kennett, and Macaulay. That 
lady's distinguished namesake wrote thus on the margin of the passage : 
" Nonsense ! Who reads Oldmixon now ? Who reads Kennett ? Who 
reads Kate Macaulay ? Who does not read Burnet ? " 

2 " What could persuade the writer that Mrs. Macaulay was a Dis- 
senter ? I believe her blood was not polluted with the smallest taint of 
that kind." Extract from a letter, as given in Nicholses Literary Anec- 
dotes ; Vol. IX., page 689. 

^ The opening of a Birthday Address, (by a poet who was not afraid of 
repeating an adjective which pleased his fancy,) exemplifies the taste of 



tion to the Present Time, in a series of Letters to the 
Reverend Doctor Wilson, the Rector of St. Stephen's, 
Walbrook ; " for Mrs. Macaulay had not emancipated 
herself from the delusion that sprightliness could be 
infused into a dull book by arranging its contents in 
the form of epistolary correspondence. ** Sir Robert 
Walpole, my friend, was well acquainted with the blind- 
ness of the nation to every circumstance which regarded 
their true interest." That is a specimen sentence from 
Mrs. Macaulay ; and it is difTicult to imagine how such 
a style of composition could be tolerated by Horace 
Walpole, whose own youthful narrative of the scenes in 
Parliament, which led up to his father's fall, palpitates 
with life as do the political letters of Cicero. 

The literary form, into which Mrs. Macaulay had 
thrown her Ilistory, proved in the sequel fatal to her 
reputation as an author. The Doctor Wilson, for whose 
edification the book professed to be written, was no or- 
dinary, or parsimonious, admirer. He had made over 
to Mrs. Macaulay his house at Bath, with the furniture 
and library ; he placed her statue, adorned with the at- 
tributes of the Muse of History, inside the altar-rails of 
his church ; and he built a vault where her remains 
should rest when her spirit had joined the immortals.^ 

the age, and the high-flown language which it was customary to use when 
complimenting Mrs. Macaulay. She was horn in April ; and she then 
resided at Alfred House, — a name that suggested the motive of the poem. 

" Just patriot King ! Sage founder of our laws, 
Whose life was spent in virtue's glorious cause : 
If aught on earth, blest saint, be worth thy care, 
Oh ! deign this day's solemnity to share, 
(Sacred to friendship and to festive mirth,) 
The day that gave the fair Macaulay birth ; 
WTiose learned page, impartial, dares explain 
Each vice, or virtue, of each different reign, 
Which tends to violate thy sacred plan, 
Or perfect what thy sacred laws began. 

Blest month ! Tho' sacred to the Cyprian Dame 
This day, at least, let sage Minerva claim, 
(Sacred to friendship and to social mirth,) 
The day which gave her loved Macaulay birth! 

^ Nichols's Literary Anecdotes ; Vol. VIII., page 458. 



The first volume of the Continuation of her History was 
published in 1778. Before that year ended Mrs. Macau- 
lay took to herself a second husband, who was very 
much less than half her own age, and who was not Doctor 
Wilson. The statue was at once removed, the house 
reclaimed, and the vault sold. The clergyman and the 
lady paraded their mutual grievances before a disen- 
chanted world ; and that world, as its custom is, revenged 
its own infatuation upon the idol whom it had unduly 
worshipped. The complimentary odes, in which her 
praises had once been sung, gave place to satirical paro- 
dies reflecting on a Certain Female Patriot ; the new 
book was recognised to be detestably bad ; and it was 
the last of the series. A sense of humour could not be 
counted among Mrs. Macaulay's gifts ; but she perceived 
the absurdity of continuing, through a long succession of 
volumes, to pour forth exhaustive disquisitions on the 
Stamp Act, and minute examinations of the New Eng- 
land Charters, interspersed with affectionate epithets 
addressed to an elderly gentleman between whom and 
herself there notoriously existed an irreconcileable quarrel. 

No worthy record of that eventful time can be found 
in any contemporary book which was deliberately com- 
piled as a history ; but the age nevertheless gave birth 
to a vast mass of political literature, written for the pur- 
pose of the moment, some portion of which will never 
be allowed to die. There is a stirring and decisive 
chapter in the story of ancient Greece which a good 
scholar makes shift to pick out, and piece together, for 
himself from the orations of ^schines and Demosthenes ; 
and so, — between the day that George the Third insti- 
tuted the system of Personal Government, down to the 
day when the American war, (the chief, and almost the 
solitary, fruit and product of that system,) ended in 
public disaster and national repentance, — the most brill- 
iant and authentic account of the period may be drawn 
from Edmund Burke's published speeches and contro- 
versial treatises. Apart from, and above, their unique 


literary merit, those performances are notable as show- 
ing how the gravity of a statesman, and the sense of 
responsibility which marks a genuine patriot, can co-exist 
with an unflinching courage in the choice and the hand- 
ling of topics. That courage, in Burke's case, had been 
exercised with impunity throughout the most perilous of 
times. Multitudinous and formidable were the assailants 
whose attacks, from the in-coming of Lord Bute to the 
out-going of the Duke of Grafton, were directed against 
the King, and those King's Friends who made office 
a purgatory for every King's Minister whom the King 
did not love ; but all their effusions together were less 
damaging in their effect on the minds of impartial men than 
the " Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents," 
the last ten pages of the " Observations on a late State 
of the Nation," and one very brief paragraph of courtly 
and almost reverential irony in that marvel of point and 
compression which is entitled a " Short Account of a 
Short Administration." ^ 

Other, and less redoubtable, critics of the Government, 
— as well as the very craftsmen who printed, and the 
tradesmen who sold, their writings, — were punished 
with the utmost rigour of the law, and harassed by the 
arbitrary vindictiveness of Parliament ; but neither the 
Attorney-General, nor the Sergeant-at-Arms, ever med- 
dled with Burke or his publishers. It was the strongest 
possible testimonial, on the part of his adversaries, to 
his character and his standing in the country. The 
agents of the Government would no more have ventured 
to prosecute Edmund Burke for libel than they would 
have dared to arrest Lord Chatham on a charge of treason 
as he passed out of the House of Lords after delivering 

^ " In the prosecution of their measures they were traversed by an Op- 
position of a new and singular character; an Opposition of placemen and 
pensioners. They were supported by the confidence of the nation; and, 
having held their offices under many difficulties and discouragements, they 
left them at the express command, as they had accepted them at the 
earnest request, of their Royal Master." So mildly did Burke refer to the 
usage which Lord Rockingham and his colleagues encountered from 
the monarch whom they so faithfully served. 



one of his diatribes against the influence of the Crown. 
Burke enjoyed immunity himself, and extended the 
shield of his protection over his humbler associates in 
the business of giving his opinions to the reading world, 
during the miserable years when the persecution of the 
Press was at its height. All the more, after the Ameri- 
can difficulty had become serious, — when the power of 
the Executive was on the decline, and the Censorship had 
lost its terrors, — the great Whig publicist, if his taste 
and self-respect had permitted, might safely have pur- 
sued the Court and the Cabinet with an unbounded 
licence of invective. But he wisely preferred to set 
forth his opinions with the same measured and dignified 
force of argument and illustration as he had displayed 
when the Middlesex Election was the question of the 
day. He could not, indeed, write better than he had 
written already ; but close reasoning, supported by a 
solid array of facts and figures, has nowhere been pre- 
sented in a shape more attractive and persuasive than in 
Burke's " Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol," and in the 
authorised report of his " Speech on moving the Reso- 
lutions for Conciliation with America." 

A literary work of rare merit seldom stands alone, 
and in most cases proceeds from the pen of one who 
does best what many around him are attempting to do 
well. Burke's masterpieces were produced at a time 
when the political essay was widely practised, and held 
in great account. The historian, who is destined to re- 
late the events of our own generation, will be under an 
obligation to read leading articles by the furlong and the 
mile ; for, during the past half-century, the leading article 
has frequently dictated the action of the State, has in- 
spired or terrorised its rulers, and has kept them up to 
the mark, or below it, until their allotted task has, for 
good or evil, been accomplished. But between 1774 and 
1783 the leading article, strictly so called, was yet in the 
future. The news in newspapers, already ample in 
quantity, year by year improved in accuracy; but the 
editorial comments on public affairs were confined to 


paragraphs of five or six, to a dozen, lines, allusive rather 
than explanatory in their character, and for the most 
part of a humorous and satirical tendency. Serious in- 
struction and exhortation were conveyed to the world in 
the pamphlets of well-known men who acknowledged 
their authorship ; and, (within the columns of daily and 
weekly journals,) by means of long, elaborate, and often 
extremely able letters, signed by some adopted name, for 
the periodical reappearance of which a large circle of 
readers eagerly looked. Charles Fox, who was conver- 
sant with every legitimate method of influencing opinion, 
has clearly drawn the distinction between the signed 
letter and the newspaper paragraph. Grave problems 
in foreign and domestic politics must, (he said,) first be 
treated in some earnest and plain way, and must be much 
explained to the public before any paragraphs alluding 
to them could be understood by one in a thousand.^ 
These responsible, or semi-responsible, personal mani- 
festoes, (for a writer who styled himself Atticus or Publi- 
cola was expected to be rational in his arguments, and 
constitutional in his views, almost as much as one who 
called himself by his Christian name, and his surname, in 
full,) had never been so numerous, or attained so high an 
average level of excellence, as during the American war. 
Junius, indeed, whoever Junius was, had not published a 
single sentence of print since Philip Francis sailed for 
India. A conspicuous niche was vacant, which no single 
successor or imitator had been reckoned worthy to fill; 
but the lists of controversy were thronged by a perfect 
phalanx of well-informed and fervid partisans, who, 
under a variety of Greek and Roman pseudonyms, in- 

^ " I cannot think as you do of the insignificancy of newspapers, though 
I think that others overrate their importance. I am clear, too, that para- 
graphs alone will not do. Subjects of importance should be first gravely 
treated in letters or pamphlets or, (best of all perhaps,) in a series of let- 
ters ; and afterwards the paragraphs do very well as an accompaniment. 
It is not till a subject has been so much discussed as to become thread- 
bare that paragraphs^ which consist principally in allusions, can be 
generally understood." Fox to Fitzpatrick ; St. Ann's Hill ; Sunday, 
November, (or Decenaber,) 1785. 


sisted on the madness of the policy which Parliament 
had adopted, and held up to reprobation the ministerial 
and military blunders which prevented that policy from 
being crowned with even a transitory success. 

As opposed to all this spontaneous ardour, and unfet- 
tered intellectual activity, there was very little indepen- 
dent talent on the side of the ministers. It was their 
own fault. In Parliament, and in literature, they had 
bought up everything that was for sale ; and they found 
themselves in the position of a general when he has 
overpaid his mercenaries, and cannot get volunteers who 
are disposed to fight for him, and willing to subject 
themselves to the necessary discipline. Doctor Tucker, 
the Dean of Gloucester, was a declared adversary of the 
Rockingham party. His pamphlets had a large circula- 
tion ; but he took a line of his own which sorely em- 
barrassed the Government. A disinterested man, he 
possessed a cultured and original mind, with a singularly 
accurate perception of the direction in which the world 
was moving. When his gaze swept a sufficiently wide 
horizon, he gave proofs of a foresight which is the won- 
der of those who have learned by frequent disappoint- 
ments what their own political prophecies are usually 
worth.i He was, however, woefully deficient in tact ; 
and his ignorance of the motives which guided the 
action of contemporary public men, and parliamentary 
parties, was hopeless and complete. He appears sin- 
cerely to have believed that the opponents of the Court, 
whom he called the Modern Republicans, were in point 
of fact Jacobites who admired Doctor Price as their 
predecessors in the reign of Queen Anne had admired 
Doctor Sacheverell. Doctor Price wrote much and well 
in favour of reconciliation with America; and Dean 
Tucker was never so happy as when belabouring him 

1 " I have observed," (Dean Tucker wrote,) " that measures evidently 
right will prevail at last. Therefore I make not the least Doubt that a 
Separation from the Northern Colonies, — and also another right measure, 
viz., a complete Union and Incorporation with Ireland, — (however un- 
popular either of them will now appear,) will both take place within half 
a century." 


and Edmund Burke on account of their partiality for 
the New England colonists, whom the Dean himself 
cordially abominated. But his blows seldom got home 
upon either of his antagonists ; and the cudgel with 
which he laid about him dealt back-strokes that hit a 
ministerial, and occasionally even a Royal, head. 

Here, (argued the Doctor,) is a discontented and 
riotous population, three thousand miles away across the 
ocean, who do not like us, and do not want us. We 
may flatter them, and cajole them, and try to appease 
them by making one concession and surrender after 
another; and then, when we have eaten a mountain of 
humble-pie compounded for us by the philosophers and 
orators of the Opposition, the Americans will perhaps 
graciously consent to pretend that they will abide a 
while longer in their allegiance to the British Crown. 
But, as they increase in strength and numbers, an army 
of fifty thousand, and before long a hundred thousand, 
English-born soldiers, (and none others can be trusted,) 
will scarcely be sufficient to keep their turbulent spirits 
in awe, and prevent them from breaking forth into 
insurrection at every favourable opportunity. And how 
could such an insurrection be quelled ? What British 
officer, civil or military, would be so foolhardy as to 
order the troops to fire on a New England mob, with 
the assured prospect that, if any of the bullets carried 
straight, he would be tried for his life on a charge 
of murder before a New England jury ? ^ Mr. Burke, 
(said Tucker,) would deserve much better of his country 
if, — in place of giving the colonists fair words in print, 
and speaking respectfully and affectionately about them 
when he was addressing the House of Commons, — he 
would bid them cut themselves loose from Great Britain, 
and thenceforward go their own ways, to their inevitable 
loss and ruin. That was Dean Tucker's logical posi- 
tion ; and that was his advice in the year 1774. He un- 
doubtedly made Burke very angry ; but Lord North and 
the King would sometimes have been quite as thankful 

1 Dean Tucker's Fourth Tract ; 1775. 


if their reverend ally had only been pleased to leave the 
Cabinet undefended. 

The destitution to which ministers were reduced for 
want of advocates obliged them to accept assistance 
from a very questionable quarter. John Shebbeare had 
now during nearly two generations been a scandal to 
letters. His coarseness and effrontery in the give and 
take of private society have been faithfully portrayed by 
Fanny Burney, a judge of manners as indulgent and as 
uncensorious as was compatible with native refinement 
and feminine delicacy.^ Shebbeare made his livelihood 
by defamation and scurrility. His first literary effort 
was a lampoon on the surgeon from whom he had re- 
ceived a medical education ; and his last was entitled 
"The Polecat Detected;" which was a libel, and not, 
(as might have been supposed,) an autobiography. 
During the reign of George the Second, Shebbeare had 
been severely, — and, indeed, arbitrarily and most im- 
properly, — punished for a fierce attack upon the House 
of Hanover. He now enjoyed a pension of two hun- 
dred pounds a year ; and he was aware of the conditions 
on which, for such as he, the payment of his quarter's 
stipend depended. Throughout the American war he 
vilified the group of great statesmen, whom George the 
Third persisted in regarding as adversaries, with the 
same ill-bred vehemence which he had formerly directed 
against that line of kings who were the rivals and sup- 
planters of the Stuarts. Shebbeare was the man whose 
name Thomas Townshend, in the House of Commons, 
had coupled with that of Samuel Johnson, on the ground 
that they both had once been Jacobites, and both now were 
pensioners ; and Townshend's ill-natured remark had 
called forth from Charles Fox an eloquent and indignant 

1 On the 20th February, 1774, Miss Burney and some of her friends, 
one of whom was a very young girl, were unfortunate enough to find 
themselves guests in the same drawing-room as Shebbeare. " He abso- 
lutely ruined our evening ; for he is the most morose, rude, gross, and ill- 
mannered man I ever was in company with." Much of his conversation, 
as reported by Miss Burney with her transparent fidelity, was incredibly 
brutal; and still worse passages were crossed out in the manuscript. 


protest which, to his dying day, Johnson gratefully 

There were members of the Government who had 
long been anxious to enlist Doctor Johnson's literary 
skill, and personal authority, on behalf of the Govern- 
ment measures. In this case there was no compulsion. 
The King entertained a true regard for his eminent 
subject, and felt a lively satisfaction at the thought that 
his own generosity had enabled a great author, — who 
had long known want, and sorrow, and the slavery of 
set tasks and uncongenial labours, — to spend the rest 
of his days in conversation, and travel, and the desul- 
tory and fragmentary reading which he so dearly loved. 
It was Johnson himself who conceived that his duty 
towards his Royal Master required him to do a good 
turn for those ministers who possessed the Royal fa- 
vour; and he intimated his willingness to assist the 
Cabinet with his pen. The subject of each successive 
pamphlet was suggested to him by great men in office ; 
but the opinions which he enunciated were unmistak- 
ably his own. Indeed, Johnson was so strong a partisan 
that the censors of Downing Street interfered with him 
only to tone down his declarations of policy, and to 
blunt the edge of his satire. One cutting and con- 
temptuous epigram in his " Thoughts on the late Trans- 
actions Respecting the Falkland Islands " so scared 
Lord North that the sale of the first edition was stopped 
after only a few copies had got abroad.^ In the 
spring of 1775 Johnson brought out his "Taxation no 
Tyranny," which, as the title implied, went down to the 
root of the quarrel between Great Britain and America. 
It was revised and curtailed by the ministerial critics, 

* The words which did not please Lord North related to George Gren- 
ville, and originally stood thus : " Let him not, however, be depreciated 
in his grave. He had powers not universally possessed. Could he have 
enforced payment of the Manilla ransom, he could have counted it." In 
the second edition the sentence ran : " He had powers not universally 
possessed ; and, if he sometimes erred, he was likewise sometimes in the 
right; " which is true of every public man that ever lived, and does not 
require a Samuel Johnson to say it. 



who struck out of the text one passage as unnecessarily 
insulting and alarming to the colonists.^ Johnson's 
sturdy good-humour was proof against a trial which 
would have touched the vanity of a more susceptible 
author. If, (he said,) an architect had planned a build- 
ing of five stories, and the man who employed him 
ordered him to build only three, it was the employer, 
and not the architect, who must decide. 

The utmost severity of expurgation would have failed 
to convert ** Taxation no Tyranny " into a felicitous per- 
formance. Admirable, and thrice admirable, disquisi- 
tions on State affairs have been published by famous 
literary men who descended for a while into the arena 
of political controversy. Such were Swift's ** Exam- 
iners ; " and Addison's *' Freeholders ; " and, (better 
still, and nearer to our own times,) Sydney Smith's 
" Plymley Letters " on the Catholic Claims. Nor was 
any more ably composed, and entirely readable, State 
paper ever issued than that Memoir, in the French 
language, in which Gibbon, at the request of ministers, 
towards the commencement of 1778 submitted the case 
of England, as against France, to the judgement of 
Europe. But Johnson was not even potentially a states- 
man. He had never thought deeply, or wisely, on 
politics; and his everyday conversation abundantly 
proved him to be peculiarly ill adapted for arriving at 
a just conclusion upon the American question. He was 
incapable of maintaining a rational and considerate 
attitude towards any great body of men with whose 
opinions he disagreed. His vociferous declamations 
against the Americans were annoying and oppressive 
to the companions with whom he lived. He might be 
heard, (they complained,) across the Atlantic. The 
study which he bestowed upon the commercial in- 

^ " He told me," wrote Boswell, " that they had struck out one passage 
which was to the effect : ' That the colonists could with no solidity argue, 
from their not having been taxed while in their infancy, that they should 
not now be taxed. We do not put a calf into the plough. We wait till 
he is an ox.' " 



tereats, which so profoundly affected the relations 
between the mother-country and her colonies, had been 
very superficial. He once comforted a friend, who was 
anxious about the effect of the war upon trade, by assur- 
ing him that, if we had no commerce at all, we could 
live very well upon the produce of our own island. On 
the connection between taxation and parliamentary rep- 
resentation, which his treatise was ostensibly written to 
discuss, he argued like a man who had not the most ele- 
mentary conception of, or sympathy with, the principle 
of self-government. He was fond of saying that a 
gentleman of landed property did well to evict all his 
tenants who would not vote for the candidate whom he 
supported. If he himself, (so the great moralist once 
put it,) were a man of large estate, he would drive every 
rascal, whom he did not Hke, out of the country, as soon 
as ever an election came. 

When '* Taxation no Tyranny " appeared in print, 
most of Johnson's admirers perused the piece with 
regret, and with something of apprehension. They 
began to fear that, as a writer, he had seen his best 
days ; and they never recovered their confidence in his 
powers until, some years later on, his ** Lives of the 
Poets " were given to a charmed and astonished world. 
There he was on his own ground. There he revelled 
in the consciousness of supreme capability. He cast 
aside, at that late moment, the elaborate and florid 
diction of his early and middle period. During the 
half of every day, and of every night, since the well- 
directed bounty of the State had made him his own 
master, he had been discoursing on every conceivable 
topic to all who were privileged to listen ; and he had 
insensibly acquired the habit of writing as he talked. 
He now had an ideal subject for a biographer endowed 
with his vigorous common-sense, his vast and insatiable 
interest in the common things of life, and his acute per- 
ception of the rules which ought to govern conduct. 
We may well doubt whether so delightful and instruc- 
tive a book as Johnson's " Poets," on a large scale and 


of serious purpose, was ever commenced and finished 
in the two years that precede, and the two that follow, 
the age of seventy.^ 

Johnson's pamphlet, by indirect means, obtained a 
startling notoriety. His bolts fell innocuous ; but his 
thunder awoke an echo which was heard far and wide. 
Of all people then living, — of all, perhaps, who ever 
lived, — no one had so profound an acquaintance with 
the state of opinion at home, and in America, as John 
Wesley. He knew Scotland well, and England as a 
man must know it who preached eight hundred sermons 
annually, in all corners of the island ; who, fine or rain, 
travelled his twelve-score miles a week on horseback, 
or in public vehicles, which for him was a more peril- 
ous mode of conveyance ; ^ and who lodged, — an easily 
contented, an affable, and a communicative guest, — 
with the farmer, the tradesman, and the cottager. Soon 
and late, he more than fifty times crossed the Irish 
Channel. He had passed nearly two years in America ; 
and he had learned by personal experience how long it 
took to get there ; a fact ill understood by those min- 
isters who had misgoverned our remote colonies in 
peace, and who now were attempting to reconquer 
them by war. Wesley relates, in the first pages of his 
incomparable "Journal," how he and his comrades took 
ship at Gravesend on the fourteenth of October, 1735; 
and how, on the following fifth of February, God 
brought them all safe into the Savannah river. The 
voyage was long enough for him to learn German, and 

1 Carlyle completed his Frederic the Great when close on seventy ; but 
he had been working at it fourteen years. 

2 Wesley had reached old age when the American war began ; and 
thenceforward he more frequently rode in a post-chaise, or a mail-coach. 
It is worth a reader's while to count the number of his carriage accidents, 
if only as an occasion for going through the last volume of the Journal 
once again. Sometimes he made a safe journey, as from Coventry in 
July 1779. "X took coach for London. I was nobly attended. Behind 
the coach were ten convicted felons, loudly blaspheming, and rattling 
their chains. By my side sat a man with a loaded blunderbuss, and 
another upon the coach." 



increase threefold the number of communicants who 
attended his ministrations on board. Ever since that 
time he had been kept minutely informed of what was 
passing in America by disciples for whom it was a 
privilege to correspond with him, and a sacred duty to 
write him the truth. 

As recently as the year 1770, — when New England 
was already in a state of dangerous effervescence, and 
the military occupation of Boston had actually com- 
menced, — John Wesley stated in print that he did not 
defend the measures which had been taken with regard 
to America ; and that he doubted whether any man 
could defend them either on the foot of law, equity, or 
prudence.^ So he openly told the world ; and in secret 
he dealt very faithfully indeed with the advisers of the 
Crown. He addressed to them a series of most impres- 
sive letters, in which the exalted diction of an old Scrip- 
tural prophet added force and dignity to the solid 
arguments of a sagacious and patriotic Englishman. 
He warned them plainly that the Americans were an 
oppressed people, asking for nothing more than their 
legal rights ; who were not frightened, and would not 
be easily conquered. As fighting men, (he said in so 
many words,) they were enthusiasts of liberty, contend- 
ing for hearth and altar, wife and children, against an 
army of paid soldiers " none of whom cared a straw for 
the cause wherein they were engaged, and most of 
whom strongly disapproved of it." And he had gone 
so far as to implore the Prime Minister, for God's sake 
and for the King's sake, not to permit his sovereign to 
walk in the ways of Rehoboam, of Philip the Second of 
Spain, and of Charles the First of England. 

That was John Wesley's view, as conveyed to Lord 
North on the fifteenth of June, 1775. Before the sum- 
mer was over there appeared a quarto sheet of four 
pages, professing itself to be " A Calm Address to our 
American Colonies by the Reverend John Wesley, M. A." 
It was sold for a penny, and was bought by forty 

^ Wesley's Free Thoughts on the Present State of Public Affairs. 


thousand purchasers, who were amazed at finding it 
nothing more nor less than an abbreviated version of 
" Taxation no Tyranny," published without any refer- 
ence to the original whence it was derived. The little 
piece was redolent of Johnson's prejudices, and so full 
of violent and random assertions that no room was left 
for those temperate expostulations which the title prom- 
ised. Wesley assured the colonists, — and it must have 
been news to Samuel Adams and to John Dickinson, — 
that the discontent in America was not of native origin. 
It had been produced, (he declared,) by the books and 
pamphlets of wicked and artful writers resident in Eng- 
land, whose object was to overset the British Constitu- 
tion ; and, considering that the chief among those writers 
was Edmund Burke, to whom every tittle of the British 
Constitution was as the Law to a Pharisee or the Koran 
to a good Mahommedan, there was something exqui- 
sitely ludicrous in such a statement. The nearest ap- 
proach to an argument in Wesley's tract was an appeal 
to the people of New England, whom, with less than 
his customary shrewdness, he appears to have esteemed 
a very simple-minded folk. " You say that you inherit 
all the rights which your ancestors had of enjoying all 
the privileges of Englishmen. You are the descendants 
of men who either had no votes, or resigned them by 
emigration. You have therefore exactly what your an- 
cestors left you ; not a vote in making laws nor in 
choosing legislators, but the happiness of being pro- 
tected by laws, and the duty of obeying them." It would 
be difficult to compress into so few words any theory 
of citizenship less satisfying to the political aspirations 
of Americans, either past or present. 

Wesley's change of attitude bordered on the gro- 
tesque, and to some of his followers was perfectly be- 
wildering. At the general election of the previous year 
he had advised Bristol Methodists to vote for the candi- 
dates who were in favour of conciliation with America ; 
and he had urged his friends to procure and study a pam- 
phlet called " An Argument in Defence of the Exclusive 


Right claimed by the Colonies to tax themselves." That 
circumstance Wesley had forgotten ; as a man of his 
years, and his enormous and multifarious occupations, 
might be excused forgetting anything. Rudely accused 
of insincerity, he examined his memory, and admitted 
that he had read the pamphlet in question, and had 
agreed with its conclusions. In answer to the charge 
that he had recommended it to the attention of others, 
he quietly replied : " I believe I did : but I am now of 
another mind." Wesley's candour failed to disarm his 
opponents. The " Calm Address " aroused a tempest 
of controversy ; and during several publishing seasons the 
great preacher was exposed to hailstorms of wild calumny, 
and unsavoury abuse. He was furiously denounced as 
a wolf in sheep's clothing ; a Jesuit and a Jacobite un- 
masked ; ^ a chaplain in ordinary to the Furies ; and a 
Minister Extraordinary to Bellona, the Goddess of War. 
John Wesley contemplated this explosion of passion 
with mild surprise, in which his adversaries detected a 
touch of irony ; for his intention, (he said,) had been to 
pour water, instead of oil, upon the flame, and to con- 
tribute his mite towards quenching the conflagration 
which over-ran the land. He reminded his younger coad- 
jutors that Christian ministers should be peacemakers, 
loving and tender to all, and not addicted to either 
party. So anxious was he, according to his own account, 
to avoid the possibility of offence, that, when invited to 
preach about a matter which savoured of politics, he 
took the precaution of writing down his sermon before- 
hand ; but, all the same, those opponents of the Minis- 
try who chanced to be present were told from the pulpit 
that they had screamed for liberty till they were utterly 
distracted, and their intellects quite confounded. At a 
later moment in the war Wesley bethought himself of 

^ It was not the first time that Wesley had been called a Jesuit. He 
once was preaching at Dublin to a large assemblage. "One of them, 
after listening some time, cried out, shaking his head : * Ay : he is a 
Jesuit; that's plain.' To which a Popish Priest, who happened to be 
near, replied aloud: *No; he is not. I would to God he was! ' " Jour- 
nal iox May 15, 1748. 


issuing a " Calm Address " to the inhabitants of Eng- 
land, who by that time needed to be soothed and paci- 
fied almost as much as the inhabitants of the colonies. 
But the effect produced, by this his second message of 
peace, upon contending factions was weakened by an 
announcement that he himself would no more continue 
in fellowship with Methodists, who hated the King and 
Lord North, than with Sabbath-breakers, or thieves, or 
drunkards, or common swearers, — or with another class 
of heinous sinners whom he described by an uncompro- 
mising epithet which modern delicacy has banished from 
ordinary use.^ 

Wesley was taunted by the Whig satirists for having 
borrowed from Johnson without acknowledgement ; but 
no objection was raised by Johnson himself, who had 
some ground for serious annoyance. The shorter piece, 
which, by its vast sale, had superseded the pamphlet 
whereof it was an abridgement, brought into strong 
relief the worst defects of the original composition ; 
for the " Calm Address," (to employ an old simile,) 
was to " Taxation no Tyranny " as a bad hash is to a 
bad joint. So soon as any mention of plagiarism arose, 
Wesley hastened to place on record that his own pub- 
lication was but a reproduction in little of Doctor 
Johnson's more elaborate work. His whole view of the 
American question, (he confessed,) had been funda- 
mentally altered by a single perusal of that masterly 
and irresistible treatise. Such a conversion, instan- 
taneous as any that Wesley wrought during the sixty- 
four years of his ministry, was a practical compliment 
which no author could resist. Johnson warmly assured 
him that, to have won over a mind like his, outweighed 
a multitude of ordinary suffrages ; and compared him- 
self to the philosopher who, when he saw the rest of 
his audience slinking away from a lecture, refused to 
quit the chair as long as Plato stayed.^ 

1 The Life and Times of the Reverend John Wesley^ by the Reverend 
L. Tyerman; Vol. III., sections headed 1775 and 1777. 

2 Johnson to Wesley ; Feb. 6, 1776. 


The reception of Wesley's effort to instruct and con- 
vince his fellow-countrymen affords a notable proof that 
virtue and disinterestedness, public esteem and vener- 
able age, will fail to avert the roughest of treatment 
from all who venture upon an incursion into politics. 
Gibbon, in the course of this very year, declared that the 
ministerial majority in the House of Commons, — when 
the month of May was half through, and the end of the 
Session in sight, — would not hear even the Archangel 
Gabriel on the subject of America ; and Wesley's ex- 
perience showed that angry partisans, on the Whig side 
of the controversy, had neither consideration nor charity 
for one who, if ever man did, deserved to be called a 
saint. A score of lampoons charged him with being 
actuated by self-interest ; and that accusation was re- 
peated by a man of the world, who was as little compe- 
tent to interpret the thoughts of John Wesley as Festus 
and Gallio were to understand St. Paul. The artful patri- 
arch of the Methodists, (so Horace Walpole wrote,) had 
produced the '' Calm Address " in order to court his 
patron. Lord Dartmouth; since he probably hoped either 
for a deanery or a bishopric. Wesley refuted the impu- 
tation in phrases which most certainly were very unHke 
those of a courtier. He had published the tract, (he 
said,) not to please any man, high or low; for he knew 
mankind too well. He knew that they, who love you 
for your political service, love you less than their dinner; 
and they, who hate you, hate you worse than the Devil. 
The true and sufficient explanation of Wesley's action is 
not far to seek. He was a Tory, just as much as Doctor 
Parr, and Doctor Richard Watson, were Whigs ; and 
most Englishmen will stretch a point in order to support 
their party when its fortunes are depressed, and its 
future dark and dubious. Wesley was much concerned 
by the aspect of politics. The ministers, (as he was not 
afraid to tell them, and that right bluntly,) were very 
generally detested by the nation ; and the personal un- 
popularity of George the Third made his devoted subject 
seriously unhappy and profoundly apprehensive. Wes- 


ley was firmly convinced that the throne, and even the 
royal life, would be in danger if any fresh disasters 
occurred abroad, and if the ferment at home grew hot- 
ter. At such a crisis he was instinctively and irresistibly 
drawn to rally in defence of his party and his Sovereign ; 
and, (as men in those circumstances will,) he brought 
himself round to approve a policy which, in public and 
in private, he had been accustomed severely to condemn. 



The colonial difficulty, like our own Civil War, arose 
ostensibly and immediately from a question of taxation ; 
but in 1775, as in 1642, the contending parties were in- 
spired and stimulated by religious, at least as much as 
by fiscal, considerations. That truth was perceived by 
some contemporary spectators of the American contest ; 
and it is almost universally recognised by those who, in 
our own day, have applied themselves to a comprehen- 
sive and unbiassed study of the past. Vital religion 
was, indeed, a less absorbing motive in the eighteenth, 
than in the seventeenth, century. Men were occupied 
with more varied, more mundane, and perhaps more 
selfish, interests in the later period than in the earlier. 
They talked less habitually in Scriptural language, and 
dwelt less exclusively upon the niceties of doctrine. The 
society in which George Washington lived was not per- 
vaded and swayed by theology like the England of 
Charles the First and Oliver Cromwell ; but the religious 
lessons to be drawn from the history of the American 
Revolution are of greater practical importance to our- 
selves, and those lessons were taught with startling 
vividness, and most uncompromising completeness. The 
thirteen provinces, while still British colonies, had ex- 
hibited a picture, or rather a panorama, displaying, — in 
deeply contrasted colours, and on a scale large enough 
for philosophical observation, — all conceivable forms 
and varieties of ecclesiastical institutions. The result 
of separation from the mother-country was to sweep 



away every vestige of Church privilege, and to secure 
absolute and uniform religious equality the whole Union 

The Church of England had, from the very first, been 
established as a State Church in Virginia and in both 
the Carolinas ; and the Dutch Reformed Church occu- 
pied the same advantageous position in the Province of 
New York. Those stern sectarians of the Northern 
colonies, who had escaped across the seas from the 
tyranny of others, indulged themselves in a rigid and 
authoritative system of ecclesiastical government erected 
on the basis of Congregationalism. No mere creature 
or pensioner of the State, the Church was the State it- 
self in nearly every community of New England ; but 
not in all. Roger Williams, a graduate of Pembroke 
College at Cambridge, was an EngHsh Puritan of the 
highest type. He emigrated to Boston in 1631, because 
he could not live both honestly and safely within the 
sweep of an archbishop's crozier ; and from Boston he 
passed southward to Rhode Island in pursuit of the full 
religious liberty which was denied to him under the 
theocratical Constitution of Massachusetts. He induced 
the colonists among whom he fixed his home to adopt a 
Resolution of infinite moment, and notable originality. 
** It is much in our hearts," (so they declared,) "to hold 
forth a lively experiment that a most flourishing civil 
State may stand, and best be maintained, with a full 
liberty of religious concernments." ^ That utterance, 
— the direct reverse of all previous, and then existing, 
European belief and practice, whether in Roman Catholic 
or in Protestant countries, — was the first announcement 

^ Petition from the people of Rhode Island to Charles the Second. 
That King, to the horror of some of his high Officers of State, insisted 
that the prayer of the petition should be granted. 

At this point in this chapter I desire, once for all, to express my obliga- 
tions to the History of the Rise of Religious Liberty in America by Mr. 
Sandford H. Cobb. That admirable book was of all the greater service to 
me because, before its publication, I had already taken a strong interest in 
the questions of which it treats ; with reference to which I had collected 
a large amount of material from many, and very diverse, quarters. 


of a principle which the United States of America have 
long ere this accepted in its entirety, and have solemnly 
embodied in their Constitution. The example of Rhode 
Island was followed by the founders of other colonies, 
especially such as held those forms of belief which had 
been most hotly persecuted in England. No State 
Church was set up in Maryland, where the Proprietary 
family was of the Roman Catholic persuasion. Pennsyl- 
vania and Delaware, — at first together, and, after a while, 
apart, — carried on their civil administration divorced 
from an ecclesiastical establishment; and Georgia, 
youngest of the thirteen colonies, began life under the 
same conditions. Foreigners, who visited America, saw 
much that astonished and delighted them ; but the fea- 
ture which struck them as the most pleasant and novel 
was the aspect of social existence in the non-denomi- 
national provinces. In Philadelphia, (said Comte de 
S6gur,) it was not the architecture, and the monuments, 
that most excited curiosity and commanded respect. 
The whole city was a noble temple raised to Tolerance, 
in which Catholics and Presbyterians, Calvinists and 
Lutherans, Anabaptists, Methodists, and Quakers wor- 
shipped after their own fashion, and consorted one with 
another in peace and amity.^ 

Those ecclesiastical arrangements under which the 
American colonies started upon their career were not 
long permitted to continue undisturbed. From a very 
early period statesmen in London were on the watch to 
impose an Anglican Establishment upon one or another 
of those colonies which were as yet without one, and to 
render existence everywhere as uncomfortable as pos- 
sible to all except professed Episcopalians. The oppor- 
tunity of the Government at home came whenever the 
administrator on the spot was a man of decided clerical 
leanings, or, (which was quite as much to the purpose,) 
of a combative and masterful nature ; for it by no means 

1 Memoires par M. Le Comte de Segur, de V Academie Franfaise, Pair 
de France; Paris, 1825, Vol. I., page 362. De Segur's first sight of Phila- 
delphia was in 1782. 


was the case that a Royal Governor, or a Secretary of 
State either, who displayed the most abounding zeal for 
the aggrandisement of the Church was necessarily one 
who lived in the closest obedience to her rules of private 
conduct. Anglicanism was after a while established in 
Maryland ; and Roman Catholics were excluded from 
office, and forbidden the exercise of their religion, on 
that very soil which had been expressly granted and 
colonised as a much-needed sanctuary for the members 
of their faith. Georgia was divided into eight parishes 
with stipends for Anglican clergy ; — although Anglican 
laymen were so sparse and few that, ten years afterwards, 
only two Episcopal congregations could be gathered to- 
gether anywhere in the province. Lord Cornbury vested 
himself with ecclesiastical authority over the whole of 
New Jersey, and ordained the due performance of the 
Anglican ritual "as by law established," at a time when 
the colony did not possess a single church of the English 
Communion. The Episcopalian party was numerically 
very feeble in the province of New York, and the author- 
ities did not venture to apply for a Statute enacting, in 
so many words, the supremacy of the English Church ; 
but they ousted the Dutch Church, and replaced it by 
an Establishment which undertook to provide each city 
and county with ** a good and sufficient Protestant Min- 
ister."^ Interpreting this definition in a sense which it 
most assuredly would not convey to the ear of a modern 
High Churchman, the Cabinet in Downing Street, and 
the Royal Governor and his council in New York, thence- 
forward wrote, spoke, and acted as if the Church of 
England had been duly and legally enthroned in the 

^ Only six years before the Act was passed, a Governor of New York 
reported on the religious condition of that colony in vigorous, and not 
very official, language. " Here bee not many of the Church of England ; 
few Roman Catholics ; abundance of Quaker preachers, — men, and 
women especially ; singing Quakers ; ranting Quakers ; Sabbatarians ; 
Anti -Sabbatarians ; some Anabaptists ; some Independents ; some Jews. 
In short, of all opinions there are some, and the most part of none at all. 
The most prevailing opinion is that of the Dutch Calvinists." 


The early history of all those American communi- 
ties, in which any form of religion whatsoever had been 
established by law, bore deep imprints of a fierce and 
narrow bigotry. Nothing else could be expected from 
men who had been nurtured in the old-world theory 
that it was the sacred duty of rulers to choose a religion 
for the people, and to extirpate heresy. No one except 
a CongregationaHst could be a freeman of Massachu- 
setts. No Roman Catholic was suffered to abide within 
the borders of the colony. Baptists were fined, flogged, 
and imprisoned ; and some of the early Quaker fanatics, 
both men and women, who courted death and bonds 
with persistent importunity, were barbarously martyred. 
King Charles the Second earnestly and repeatedly en- 
deavoured to secure liberty of religion for members 
of that English Church of which he himself was the 
Head, and was encountered by the Independents of 
Massachusetts with a respectful but inflexible refusal. 
They reminded His Majesty that they were voluntary 
exiles from their dear native country because they could 
not read the Word of God as warranting the use of the 
Common Prayer Book ; and to have the same set up in 
America, (so their quaint phraseology ran,) " would dis- 
turb their peace in their present enjoyments." Bad 
things were done in those old days, and cruel-minded 
sermons were preached and applauded ; but, as time 
went on, the tendency of opinion throughout New 
England was in the direction first of toleration, and 
then of rehgious equaHty. Generations grew up in an 
atmosphere of responsible self-government, and widely 
diffused popular education. The sons of the men who 
had sent Quakers to execution already condemned the 
deed ; and Boston has been repenting of it ever since, 
in prose and verse, with an emphasis and unanimity of 
remorse the like of which has been known in no other 
community. Clerical opinion lagged somewhat in the 
rear; but the clergy of the Northern colonies could 
not afford to be left far behind laymen in the march 
of humanity. They were not priests, invested with 



sacerdotal attributes and authority ; but teachers, whose 
influence depended upon their ability to convince the 
intellect, and hold the confidence, of their hearers. As 
early as 1691 the full right of citizenship, and the free 
exercise of public worship, had been extended to all 
Christians, with the exception of Roman Catholics ; and, 
forty years later on, it was enacted that the taxes for 
religious objects, which had been collected from Episco- 
palian householders, should be handed over to their own 
Episcopalian minister, if there was one within five miles 
whose services they attended. That was the Five Mile 
Act of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The English 
law which bore the same name was an ordinance for- 
bidding a Nonconformist clergyman to show his face 
within five miles of any corporate city or borough. In 
1775, when the American Revolution broke out, that 
Act still remained in our Statute-book; nor had it yet 
become a dead letter.^ 

Any progress, which was made towards religious 
liberty in those colonies where Anglicanism had been 
established, owed less than nothing to the clergy of the 
official Church, or to Royal Governors who had the 
supposed interests of that Church in their keeping. In 
the province of New York, under the rule of Lord Corn- 
bury, places of worship, and religious endowments, — 
sometimes by chicanery, and sometimes by arbitrary 
violence, — were wrested from Presbyterians or Inde- 
pendents, and handed over to Episcopalians. Nearly 
half-way through the eighteenth century, in the same 
province, Moravian missionaries, the most innocent and 
guileless of mankind, were proscribed and persecuted on 
the pretext that they were Popish emissaries with designs 
against His Majesty's Government. And even as late as 
1768, — when the country was ablaze with the agitation 
against the tea-duty, — the Virginian clergy contrived to 
get three Baptists into gaol for the crime of having re- 

1 The Kentish Justices put the Five Mile Act in force against Wesleyan 
preachers thirty years after Methodism had become a living power in 



fused to discontinue preaching.^ There have been periods 
in the history of nations when intolerance has been dig- 
nified by the intense rehgious conviction, and the pure, 
ascetic, morals of a dominant priesthood ; but such was 
not the case in the Southern colonies, and least of all in 
Virginia. The desirable gifts and graces were often 
sadly lacking in clergymen who had been exported from 
England to serve the parishes in that province. "As to 
other commodities, so of this, the worst are sent us; and 
we had few, that we could boast of, since the persecution 
in Cromwell's tyranny drove divers worthy men hither." 
That was written by a Royal Governor in the reign of 
Charles the Second ; and a very perceptible change for 
the better never took place in the character of the Virgin- 
ian incumbents until the Church, disestablished and disen- 
dowed, was at last thrown back upon her own resources. 
There was no bishop, within a distance of three thou- 
sand miles, to encourage and promote the worthy, or to 
admonish and chastise the reprobate ; and the Anglican 
clergy of the Southern plantations, without a director 
above them, were not a law to themselves. Abandoned 
to their own guidance and discretion in parishes some- 
times as large as an English county, they frequently 
succumbed to the temptations prevalent in a loosely, 
and, (so far as slavery was concerned,) a viciously organ- 
ised society. In one respect they were singularly 
unfortunate. The boon companions with whom they 
consorted, the Presbyterian neighbours who had to pay 
their stipends without attending their ministrations, and 
the church-goers who hstened to their ill-read prayers 
and short and slovenly discourses,^ belonged to a race 

^ In one case Patrick Henry " offered his services to defend the poor 
preachers, and tradition has it that he rode fifty miles to do so. In his 
speech he so dwelt upon the folly and wickedness of attempting to punish 
a man for preaching the gospel of the Son of God, that he overwhelmed 
the court, and secured the immediate discharge of his client." In 1770 two 
other Baptists were thrown into Chesterfield County gaol, and there "they 
did much execution by preaching through the grates of their windows." 
History of Religious Liberty ; chapter iv., section i. 

'^ Josiah Quincy, — accustomed as he was to New England sermoni 
closely reasoned, and divided into many heads, — during a visit to the 


largely endowed with caustic humour. It would be easy 
to compile, and perhaps not difficult to read, a chapter 
full of racy anecdotes and pungent sayings which bear 
upon these ancient clerical scandals ; but the truth about 
the Southern clergy may with greater propriety be left 
to the sorrowing testimony of the best among their own 
number. Reports sent to the Bishop of London by his 
Commissaries in America, — who were carefully selected 
for that office on account of their talents and virtues, 
but who had no powers to restrain or punish their erring 
brethren, — tell a most deplorable story from first to 
last. Their statements were confirmed, and their con- 
clusions summed up, by a favourably disposed and 
sympathetic spectator who watched the Episcopal Es- 
tablishment from without. James Pemberton, a mem- 
ber of the Society of Friends, — an excellent man, and 
a very strong Loyalist, — wrote in i "^^6 that the vast 
increase of Presbyterians in America was due to the 
neglect of the rulers of the Church of England, who, 
to the dishonour of their profession, had little regard for 
the morals of the persons that they appointed to the 
office of clergyman.^ 

This relaxation of ecclesiastical discipline was not 
the only, nor the greatest, evil inflicted upon the Church 
of England in America by the want of resident bishops. 
No native-born colonist could be ordained without in- 
curring the indefinite delays, and unspeakable discom- 
forts, of a sea journey replete with perils which would 
be incredible to our generation if the record of them 
did not rest upon incontrovertible evidence. Of three 

South in 1774 heard "a young coxcomb preach flippantly for seventeen 
and a half minutes " in a Charleston pulpit. 

1 The letter is quoted by President Isaac Sharpless, in his History of 
Quaker Government in Pennsylvania. An account of the Bishop's Com- 
missaries, and their Reports, may be found in a paper by Mr. Edward 
Eggleston, in the Century Magazine for May 1888. Mr. Sandford Cobb, 
in the second section of his sixth chapter, relates how the letters written 
by good American clergymen to the Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel, and to the Bishop of London, abounded in references to the bad 
lives of many among their colleagues, and to the terribly disastrous influ' 
ence on the repute and efficacy of the Church. 



candidates for ordination, sent to Europe from Hebron 
in Connecticut, one perished on the return voyage ; a 
second died on ship-board ; while the third was taken 
by a hostile vessel, and spent the rest of his life in a 
French prison. Doctor Johnson, a citizen of the same 
province, a man of saintly life who had left the Inde- 
pendents to become an Episcopalian minister, lost a 
son who had sailed for England on the same errand. 
This, (said the bereaved father,) was the seventh pre- 
cious life which had been sacrificed ; most of them the 
flower of their country.^ Such was indeed the case; 
for American youths who, in the face of immense dis- 
advantages and discouragements, dedicated themselves 
to the service of the Church of England, were mostly 
respectable, and sometimes eminent, in character and 
attainments. But the difficulties of communication be- 
tween the colonies and the mother-country were, in 
the majority of cases, prohibitive. The Church in the 
Southern colonies was mainly supplied from across the 
ocean ; and clerical emigrants, who found their way to 
those regions, were very generally the failures of Eng- 
lish universities, or Scotch and Irish adventurers who 
sought an escape from the despised and miserable lot 
of the usher in an eighteenth-century academy. The 
daily life in a tobacco-parish contained no element of 
that missionary work which has an attraction for men 
of high and enthusiastic spirit ; from a very early date 
it had been well ascertained by Oxford and Cambridge 
Bachelors of Arts that a curate in England had more 
considerable worldly prospects than a Virginian rector 
and archdeacon ; ^ and those prospects, far from im- 
proving, grew poorer as time advanced, and as the 
esteem and affection of the Provincials became estranged 
from their established clergy. 

That clergy was remunerated in kind, and not in 

^ At a later period, according to Doctor Johnson, ten had been lost, 
out of fifty-four who had gone for ordination. 

2 Letter from Morgan Godwyn to Governor Berkeley, written about 
the year 1670. 


money. Maryland gave an incumbent forty pounds of 
tobacco for every tithe-payer in the Parish, whether 
Churchman or Dissenter, white or coloured; and the 
terms were handsome enough to secure the pick of 
the clerical market.^ In Virginia the stipends repre- 
sented a fixed and unvarying quantity, by weight, of 
the manufactured leaf; and those stipends, for long 
periods together, were wretched pittances. In a bad 
year even the " sweet-scented parishes," where the 
minister's salary was calculated on a high-priced and 
exceptionally fragrant tobacco, yielded only about a 
hundred pounds sterling ; and the parishioners some- 
times refused to induct a clergyman unless he would 
consent to take one salary for serving two parishes. 
In 1758, when the price of the staple had greatly risen, 
and a church-living had become a reasonable mainten- 
ance for an incumbent and his family, the House of 
Burgesses passed a law fixing the cash equivalent of 
debts payable in tobacco at one-third of their true and 
honest commercial value. This piece of legislation, 
while it did not injuriously affect a single lay creditor, 
struck two-thirds from the emoluments of every clergy- 
man in the province; and that was the sole object with 
which it had been devised. The law was invalid, for 
the King in Council withheld his sanction ; but the 
Virginian vestries at once proceeded to act upon it as 
though it were a part of the Constitution. The contro- 
versy was brought into Court; and a test case was 
tried, involving a claim on the part of a Rector for 
many hundred pounds of unpaid salary. The point of 
law was given in his favour; for no tribunal in the 
universe could have decided otherwise. A jury was 
summoned to arbitrate on the amount that was due to 
the plaintiff ; and Patrick Henry appeared on behalf of 
the vestrymen. He rose to his feet an obscure country 
lawyer, and sat down after a speech which made him 

^ One Maryland parish was said to be worth a thousand pounds ster- 
ling a year. In 1757 Edmund Burke praised the clergy of the colony as 
" the most decent, and the best, in North America." 



the most celebrated of American orators. Amid a 
tornado of popular effervescence and exhilaration the 
jury assessed the damages at one penny; and the 
clergy had no choice but to accept that outrageous 
verdict as the death-blow to their cause. 

It was a shabby policy, and a shuffling step in the 
direction of religious equality, unworthy of the reputa- 
tion for chivalry and generosity which had attached 
itself to the Old Dominion. None the less was that 
scene in Hanover Court House a striking and signifi- 
cant contrast to some former chapters in the ecclesiasti- 
cal history of Virginia. The first set of emigrants, in 
1606, made careful provision for the dignity and com- 
fort of those Episcopalian ministers who accompanied 
them from home. In imitation of the example, and in 
obedience to the specific behests, of Archbishop Laud, 
the authorities of the colony harried and persecuted the 
Puritans, and, — with perverted but indomitable cour- 
age, — continued to persecute them long after Naseby 
and Marston Moor had made Puritanism triumphant 
and all-powerful in the mother-country. Under the 
Commonwealth those English gentry and clergy, who 
had suffered for Church and King, found a hospitable 
asylum in Virginia; and, after the Restoration, the 
House of Burgesses at Williamsburg vied with the 
Cavalier Parliament at Westminster in the severities 
which it inflicted upon sectaries and recusants. The 
Tobacco Act of 1758, — as compared with the penal 
statutes framed in defence of Anglicanism by the 
Virginian Assembly in 1661 and 1662, — affords an 
accurate measure of the sweeping change wrought by 
a century's experience of a State establishment in the 
feelings and inclinations of a community which once 
was the most Church-loving of all our colonies.^ 

The Episcopalian clergy in the Northern provinces, 
and more especially in Connecticut, were sincerely 

1 Instances of the signal power and popularity enjoyed in Virginia bj 
the Church of England, during the first three-quarters of the seventeentk 
century, are given in the Third Appendix at the end of this volume. 


religious, unimpeachable in character, and of high 
intellectual quality. Their material circumstances were 
prosperous ; and their social position ranked as among 
the very best in the land. As far back as the year 
1727 both of the great colonies in which Congregation- 
alism was the State religion, — holding out an exam- 
ple of equity, and right feeling, to all other established 
and endowed churches, — had allotted to the Episco- 
palian minister that portion of the tithe which was 
contributed by members of his own flock. The Statute 
went by a name unmelodious to the ears of a suscep- 
tible Anglican ; for it was called " An Act for the 
Ease of such as soberly Dissent ; " but everything 
about it, except the title, was much to the taste, and ex- 
ceedingly to the profit, of the Episcopalian Church, 
which included among its adherents many of the 
largest tithe-payers. To the Church of England, (wrote 
Judge Jones,) belonged the Governor, the Lieutenant- 
Governor, a majority of His Majesty's Council, many 
members of the General Assembly, and all the officers 
of Government, with a numerous train of rich and affluent 
merchants and land-owners. That was the condition 
of things in New York ; nor was it otherwise in New 
England. The Episcopalian clergy of Massachusetts 
had lived as youths in close comradeship with those, 
who later on in life became their leading parishioners, 
in the refined and rather aristocratic atmosphere of 
Harvard College; where, before the Revolution, the 
place of a student in the class was determined, not by 
his own proficiency in learning, but by the rank of his 
father, and the importance of his family. The clergy 
of Connecticut were mostly educated at Yale; and in 
both colonies the candidates for Anglican orders had 
used their academical opportunities with profit. Sound 
divines, fair scholars, and thoughtful preachers, they 
became conspicuous for propriety of behaviour among 
a society where people were in the habit of judging 
themselves and their neighbours by a very strict and 
precise standard. Such ministers as Doctor Edward 


Bass, afterwards the first Bishop of Massachusetts, ot 
John Tyler and Roger Viets of Connecticut, would have 
done honour to any Church in the world during the 
best period of its corporate existence.^ 

While the Episcopalian clergy of Virginia were dis- 
credited and disliked, those in the Northern colonies 
were respected, but feared ; for the attitude of English 
Churchmen, towards all Americans who did not belong 
to their body, was in a marked degree ominous and 
menacing. Jurisdiction over the Colonial Church rested 
with the Bishop of London for the time being ; and the 
charge was a disagreeable and embarrassing supplement 
to his home duties. "Sure I am," wrote one holder of 
that lofty function, "that the care is improperly lodged. 
For a Bishop to live at one end of the world, and his 
Church at the other, must make the office very uncom- 
fortable to the Bishop, and in a great measure useless 
to the people."^ The majority of that people, however, 
would have derived small comfort or assistance from 
the presence of a Father of the Church within the 
borders of their colony. In 1771 a Bishop of London 
told a Secretary of State, plainly and roundly, that he 
could not think of accepting a position as trustee of a 
local institution in America if his colleagues in that 
office were what he was pleased to style " Dissenters."^ 
Those Dissenters numbered considerably over ninety 
per cent, of the population resident in the province. 
Among them were the Congregationalists, who belonged 
to a Church that had been established by law, which in 
Massachusetts the Church of England was not ; but 
the bench of bishops arbitrarily assumed, and openly 

^ Judge Jones speaks of Yale College as remarkable for its republican 
principles, its intolerance in religion, and its utter aversion to Bishops 
and Kings. Nevertheless Mr. Tyler, and Mr. Viets, had taken degrees 
there, as well as others among the Loyalist clergy of Connecticut. The 
Church of England in that colony was practically founded in 1722 by six 
Congregationalists who all became Episcopalians together; and one of 
their number was the President of Yale himself. 

'^ The Bishop of London to Doctor Doddridge, in the year 1 75 1. 

• Ric. London to Lord Dartmouth ; Fulham, July 9, 1 771. 


maintained, that any State Church, besides their own, 
was an imposture and a nullity, and that the levying of 
tithes by such a Church was a flagrant act of spoliation. 
A famous prelate complained bitterly from the pulpit 
that Episcopalians in New England were rated for 
the support of what the Independents, — who were, (so 
he frankly admitted,) the greater part of that people, 
— called, though without any right, the Established 
Church.^ In the year 1725 the Congregational clergy 
had asked leave to hold a Synod in order to consult 
about measures for confirming and quickening the faith 
of the Gospel in the province of Massachusetts Bay. 
When the expression of their desire reached London, 
the Cabinet, indoctrinated by London's bishop, angrily 
rejected the proposal on the ground that it would form 
"a bad precedent for Dissenters." At that time the 
capital of Massachusetts contained a solitary English 
church, which was as much a Nonconformist place of 
worship as Doctor Doddridge's chapel at Northampton, 
or Doctor Lardner's lecture-hall in the Old Jewry. " In 
the English view," (it has been aptly said,) *'the allow- 
ance of one Episcopal church in Boston turned the 
Established Church of Massachusetts into a congrega- 
tion of Dissenters." 2 

The Episcopal Church, at home and abroad, owed 
much to a man whose inspiriting influence, and rare 
practical talent, have earned him a place among the 

^ Sermon preached by Bishop Seeker before the Propagation Society 
in the Parish Church of St. Mary-le-Bow, February 20, 1 740-1. 

^History of Religious Liberty; chapter v., section ii. A powerful 
letter, written by John Adams in 181 5, gives an interesting account of the 
state of religion throughout America anterior to 1775, and explains its 
intimate relation to the events of the Revolution. With regard to Massa- 
chusetts he notices " the spirit, the temper, the views, designs, intrigues, 
and arbitrary exertions of power displayed by the Church of England at 
that time towards the Dissenters, as they were contemptuously called, 
though in reality the Churchmen were the real Dissenters. . . . The truth 
is that the Congregationalists, the Presbyterians, the Anabaptists, the 
Methodists, or even the Quakers or Moravians, were each of them as 
numerous as the Churchmen ; several of them immensely more numerous ; 
and all of them together more than fifteen to one." 


great religious organisers of the world. Towards the 
beginning of the eighteenth century Doctor Thomas 
Bray, — shocked and saddened by the stories of spiritual 
destitution, and clerical inefficiency, which arrived from 
across the ocean, — declined the offer of valuable bene- 
fices in England, sold all the goods that he possessed 
there, and sailed for America invested with the thank- 
less office of Commissary to the Bishop of London in 
Maryland. Bray's services to the Church of his devo- 
tion extended far beyond the boundaries of the colony 
to which he was accredited ; for he conceived the idea, 
and designed and constructed the machinery, of the 
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign 
Parts. Those sagacious and earnest men, who guided 
the counsels and disbursed the resources of the last- 
named Association, laboured successfully to infuse 
vigour and purity into the Episcopalian Churches of 
America.^ The rise and spread of Anglicanism in 
Connecticut was due to their inspiration. Their mis- 
sionaries, — chosen with care and on the spot, — ex- 
hibited an example which awakened the conscience, and 
stirred the zeal, of the better-intentioned among the 
parish clergy of the Southern provinces, and shamed 
the undeserving into decency of conduct ; and their 
agents were the first to undertake, in any systematic 
way, the religious and the secular instruction of negro 
slaves. But this excellent corporation, under another 
aspect, was not blameless. Some of their clerical 
emissaries refused to work with, and not unfrequently 
or unwillingly worked against, those other religious 
denominations which already covered so large a field 
in the American colonies; and, above all, the annual 
meeting of the Society in London was an occasion 

^ A letter to the Propagation Society, despatched in 1705, deplores the 
hostility evinced towards the English Church by the Puritans of Massa- 
chusetts. " They fail not to improve every little thing against us. But, 
(I bless God for it,) the Society have robbed them of their best argument, 
which was the ill lives of our clergy that came into these parts. And, the 
truth is, I have not seen many good men but of the Society's sending." 


when Christianity did not habitually display a gracious 
and inviting countenance. The central event of these 
periodical gatherings consisted in a sermon from a 
bishop, who too often consumed much of his time, and 
almost all of his fervour and unction, in contending 
that no Gospel ought to be propagated except that 
which was taught by Anglican divines. Sometimes the 
preacher broadly and bluntly animadverted upon the 
doctrinal tenets and political tendencies of those whom, 
before that audience, he boldly and safely characterised 
as " the American Nonconformists ; " but these direct 
attacks were less irritating, and incomparably less 
alarming, to New England public opinion than were 
the studied reticences of abler and more artful orators. 
A favourite method with the preacher of the Anniver- 
sary Discourse was to represent the whole American 
community, outside the circuit of the Anglican Church, 
as unbroken ground for religious propagandism and 
missionary enterprise ; to describe the settlers as having 
relapsed into a condition of heathendom ever since they 
had deserted the ritual of their forefathers ; and coldly, 
calmly, and deliberately to ignore the ecclesiastical 
existence of those Presbyterians, Independents, and 
Baptists who constituted the vast majority of the 
colonial population. 

Such a sermon, never forgotten or pardoned by those 
against whom its implied censures were aimed, was de- 
livered by Seeker, then Bishop of Oxford, in the year 
1742. A notable passage in that discourse solemnly 
lamented that many of the early emigrants to America 
carried but little of Christianity abroad with them, while 
a great part of the rest had suffered it to wear out gradu- 
ally, until in some provinces there were scarce any foot- 
steps of it left beyond the mere name. In those districts 
no religious assembly was held ; the Lord's day was 
distinguished from the remainder of the week only by 
more unbridled indulgence in vice and dissipation ; and 
the Sacrament of Baptism had not been administered 
for near twenty years, nor that of the Lord's Supper for 


fifty. Such, (ejaculated the bishop,) was the state of 
things in more of our colonies than one ; and, ** where 
it was a little better, it was lamentably bad." The ser- 
mon was published in America, and read, — with what 
feelings and faces it is not hard to imagine, — by the 
Deacon and the Elders in many a strictly ordered New 
Hampshire and Massachusetts parish. The same line 
of unwarranted assertion, and uncharitable insinuation, 
was adopted by the Bishop of Gloucester in 1766, and 
by the Bishop of Llandaff in i 'j^'j. That was a time when 
the friendship between America and Great Britain had 
already, from other causes, been so seriously disturbed 
that a true patriot, (not to say a good Christian,) should 
have been scrupulously watchful to guard and moderate 
his utterances. 

Regularly as the year came round, the leaders of the 
principal Churches in America protested, before Heaven 
and man, against the injustice of denouncing their nation 
as, in the main, a depraved and unbelieving people. 
Doctor Chauncey of Boston eloquently complained that 
the colonists were accused of having abandoned their 
native religion together with their parent soil, and of 
living without remembrance or knowledge of God, with- 
out any Divine worship, in dissolute wickedness and the 
most brutal profligacy of manners. They had some- 
times, (wrote the Doctor,) been blamed for having too 
much religion ; but never, except by English prelates, 
for having no religion at all.^ Men recalled to each 
other's memory how Archbishop Laud, in a well-known 
phrase, had declared that he "could find no religion" in 

1 " A letter to a Friend, containing Remarks on certain Passages in a 
Sermon, preached by the Right Rev*^. John Bishop of Llandaff, before the 
Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 
at the Anniversary Meeting in the Parish Church of St. Mary le Bow, 
London, Feb. 20, 1767 ; in which the highest Reproach is undeservedly 
cast upon the American Colonies. By Charles Chauncey, D.D., Pastor 
of the First Church of Christ in Boston." As also " A Letter to the Right 
Reverend Father in God, John Lord Bishop of Llandaff; occasioned by 
some Passages in his Lordship's Sermon, in which the American Colonies 
are loaded with great and undeserved Reproach ; by William Livingston 
of New York." 


Scotland, — at a period in history when, in the country 
which had produced John Knox and Andrew Melville, 
it was difficult for an unprejudiced observer to find 
anything else. Hardly less disdainful, on the eve of the 
Revolution in America, was the behaviour of English 
bishops towards every Church on that continent save 
and except their own. They were actuated, (so Congre- 
gationalists and Presbyterians sincerely believed,) by 
Laud's spirit ; and, if ever they had the power and the 
opportunity, they would be only too eager to revive 
Laud's policy. 

These mutual jealousies and suspicions had long ago 
been concentrated over the question of planting a bishop 
in America. The suggestion was heartily favoured by 
Churchmen in every colony abroad, and in the palace of 
every diocese in England. Archbishop Tenison, and 
Sir John Trelawney the Bishop of Winchester, had left 
a thousand pounds apiece towards the foundation and 
equipment of a Transatlantic see. Seeker bequeathed a 
like sum ; and a substantial legacy was devised by a 
Lady of great family, who yet was " incomparably more 
eminent for her Virtues than her Quality." In the year 
1697 a worthy Virginian divine exclaimed that, on the 
day when a Bishop landed in America, he would say, 
with Saint Bernard in his Epistle, that the finger of God 
was in it. Commissary Bray of Maryland, and Commis- 
sary Blair of Virginia, — who were the mainstay and 
ornament of the Anglican Church in their respective 
provinces, — had been instant with the Government at 
home to take steps for making Episcopacy in America 
a living reality ; and their clerical colleagues and suc- 
cessors were universally of the same mind. The cry 
was swelled by the voices of lay partisans, some of whom 
did not know the difference between Presbyterians and 
Congregationalists, but who abominated both sects 
equally on account of the length of their sermons, the 
soberness of their manners, and the severity of their 
morals. In that way of thinking was Alexander 


Macrabie, the brother-in-law and correspondent of Philip 
Francis. ** Oh ! Do let us have a bishop!" (Macrabie 
wrote in 1769). "Our clergy are quarrelling like dog 
and bear; and I fear the Presbytery get the better.'* 
"The Presbyterians," he said elsewhere, " should not be 
allowed to become too great. They are of republican 
principles. The Bostonians are Presbyterians." ^ 

Anglicans, — good men, or less good, alike, — were 
for the appointment of a bishop ; but that proposal was 
keenly resented by the mass of the American people. 
The colonists had no desire to oppress or starve the 
EngUsh Church within their borders, as the adoption of 
the Five Mile Act by Massachusetts and Connecticut 
unanswerably proved. Nor had they in principle any 
objection to a bishop as the adviser, the overseer, and 
the spiritual guide of his own clergy ; but they would 
have none of him in the character of a State functionary. 
Reading the future by the past, all the great Evan- 
gelical organisations of America regarded the Anglican 
Church as an aggressive power. Within no very dis- 
tant memory, Episcopalians had annexed New York 
and New Jersey, Georgia and Maryland. In those 
colonies where Congregationalism was established they 
received, without any sign of gratitude, their share of 
all the taxes imposed for purposes of religion ; but in 
Virginia and the CaroHnas they kept the whole of those 
taxes for themselves. While religious persecution was 
dying out elsewhere, Baptists were still being punished 
for preaching in a colony where the EngHsh Church 
held sway. In the public assembhes of that Church, 
and in its printed literature, nine out of ten Americans 
were classified as schismatics ; and it was impossible to 
contemplate without uneasiness a state of things under 
which the strategical operations of Anglicanism in 

* This gentleman, — who apparently was ignorant that the Established 
Church in Boston was Congregationalist, — hated Presbyterians because 
they had made one of his friends do public penance for gross profligacy ; 
" and the fellow," said Macrabi^ " was worth upwards of ten thousand 
pounds ! '* 


America would be directed by a bishop, quartered on 
the scene of action, possessing the ear of the Royal 
Governors, and backed by all the power and authority 
of Great Britain whenever a Ministry with Anglican 
proclivities was installed at Downing Street. There 
would be an end thenceforward to comfortable and 
friendly relations between neighbours and kinsmen who 
professed different creeds. Each colony would be 
divided into two hostile camps ; and all other religious 
bodies would have to be perpetually on the watch 
against the assaults and inroads of a Church which 
could never keep herself contented and tranquil until 
her own faith became recognised as the State religion. 
In their opposition to the introduction of a bishop, the 
American people may be said to have anticipated the 
Monroe doctrine, and to have applied it to ecclesiastical 
affairs. John Adams, — looking back to the early Revolu- 
tionary period across a space of fifty years, — pronounced 
it to be a fact, as certain as any in the history of North 
America, that the apprehension of Episcopacy, as much 
as any other cause, aroused the attention, not only of 
the inquiring mind, but of the common people, and 
urged them to "close thinking on the constitutional 
authority of Parliament over the colonies." ^ 

Dislike and dread of Episcopacy intensified Ameri- 
can opposition to the fiscal policy of Parliament; and 
the Non-Importation Agreement, in the all but unani- 
mous view of its promoters, held good against bishops 
as well as against all other British products. When the 
Stamp Act, and afterwards the tea-duty, had inflamed 
New England, — and when London was in a roar with 
rioting for Wilkes and Liberty, — the Cabinet would 
have been pleased if religious differences in the colonies 
had been permitted to sleep. The bishops, (Franklin 

^ Ex-President Adams to Doctor Jedediah Morse ; Quincy, December 
2, 181 5. The letter is one of a series of seven, which together form a 
most interesting and instructive historical retrospect, perfectly marvellous 
as coming from the pen of a man of eighty. It may well be doubted 
whether there is any other known instance of intellectual vigour preserved, 
unimpaired and unmodified, to such an advanced age. 


wrote,) were very desirous of effecting the enlargement 
of the Church of England in America, by sending one 
of their number thither ; but the Government was pru- 
dently deaf to their solicitations.^ While, however, 
the King and his ministers possessed the means of 
keeping live diocesans in order, they had no hold on 
the dead ; and it was from the grave that their troubles 
came. Seeker died in July 1768, after having been 
Primate of All England for ten years ; and a twelve- 
month subsequently there appeared " A Letter written 
January 9, 1750, by the Right Reverend Thomas 
Seeker, Lord Bishop of Oxford, concerning Bishops in 
America ; Printed for J. and F. Rivington at the Bible 
and the Crown in Saint Paul's Churchyard." What- 
ever the publication of that letter may have done for 
the Bible, it was a very bad stroke indeed for the Crown. 
It was understood that, soon after he was settled at 
Lambeth, the Archbishop had written in his own hand 
directions for printing and circulating the document as 
his posthumous message to the world. His proposals 
were extremely moderate, equitable in intention, and 
put forward in guarded language ; ^ but they at once 
excited in the colonies an acute and violent controversy, 
in which the memory of the departed prelate was not 
spared. The situation was aggravated by the clumsy 
wording of a Memorial which the English clergy of 
New York and New Jersey addressed to the Govern- 

1 Benjamin Franklin to John Ross ; London, May 14, 1768. In July 
of the same year Mr. Hollis wrote from England ; "There is great reason 
to believe that the scheme for bishoping America has been dropped, most 
wisely, by the civil ministers here for some months." 

2 Archbishop Seeker vv^as quite sincere, if sometimes raiher unhandy, 
in his desire to conciliate the prevalent religious opinion of America. He 
was an ardent Protestant, who acknowledged Protestants of all sects and 
churches as his aUies, and who lived with prominent Nonconformists, (such 
as Doddridge and Chandler, Leland, Lardner, and Watts,) on terms of genial 
civility, and, in some cases, of steady friendship. Thomas Hollis of Dorset- 
shire, the antiquary and virtuoso, — who was an admiring and confidential 
correspondent of Jonathan Mayhew, and a lifelong enemy to sacerdotal 
claims, — gave Seeker, as a testimony of esteem, " a head of Socrates 
engraved on green jasper, and set in gold as a seal, which cost Mr. Hollis 
six guineas." 


ment in London, praying for a bishop, but disclaiming 
all wish that he should exercise any jurisdiction over 
" Dissenters, or abridge the ample Toleration " which 
those Dissenters at present enjoyed. That a denomina- 
tion, whose members were in a very small minority, 
should tell the other fourteen-fifteenths of the popula- 
tion that they might continue to be tolerated, was 
regarded as a piece of gratuitous presumption by Pres- 
byterians and Congregationalists. A humiliating and 
precarious dole of immunity from actual persecution 
was not the sort of religious liberty in quest of which 
their forefathers had crossed the ocean. 

Edmund Burke, who knew his subject, warned the 
House of Commons that the adversaries of Episco- 
palianism in America were not a feeble folk. The prev- 
alent religion, (he said,) in our Northern colonies was 
a refinement on the principle of Resistance; under a 
variety of denominations it agreed in nothing but in a 
communion of the spirit of liberty ; it was the Dissi- 
dence of Dissent, and the Protestantism of the Protestant 
religion. Those words were very finely, and most 
appropriately, chosen. All along the Western frontier 
lived Irish Presbyterians of Scottish descent; skilful and 
truculent Indian fighters ; men of warlike traditions, 
and with very long memories indeed. Their great-grand- 
fathers had borne the brunt of the struggle against 
James the Second and Tyrconnell at Londonderry 
and Enniskillen ; and, when the peril was over, they 
had, as their reward, been driven from their Ulster 
homes in scores of thousands by that savage and in- 
quisitorial Test Act which the bishops of the Established 
Church, who disliked Nonconformists at least as much 
as they feared Roman Catholics, had insisted on obtain- 
ing from the Irish Parliament. The central colonies 
held many Huguenot families, whose ancestors, the 
salt and leaven of the French nation, had escaped into 
exile from the senile bigotry and inhumanity of Louis the 
Fourteenth ; and the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 
(although great Court ladies had something to say 


towards it,) was mainly attributed to Episcopal inspira- 
tion.^ Far more numerous than Huguenots or Irish 
Presbyterians, and to the full as well provided with 
reasons for an hereditary distrust of bishops,^ were the 
sons of the old English Puritans ; most of whom, in 
creed, in temper, and in the usages of their daily life, 
might still be accounted as Puritans themselves. Their 
spokesman and fugleman in ecclesiastical polemics had 
till very lately been Jonathan Mayhew, minister of the 
West Church in Boston ; a noble preacher and writer, 
whose earnestness of purpose, and lofty sweep of 
thought, kept in subordination, (but not always,) his 
flashing and scorching wit, and vivified his abundant 
stores of learning. 

Mayhew was no longer alive ; for that sharp sword 
early wore through the scabbard ; but public opinion in 
New England was more than ever imbued, and public 
action dictated, by his audacious spirit. The denuncia- 
tions of Episcopacy and arbitrary government, which 
he had thundered forth from his pulpit, were still the 
favourite reading of a serious-minded and angry people ; 
and his influence may be traced in Whig sermons and 
pamphlets during the whole period that elapsed, from 
the closing of Boston Port, to the firing of the volley 
on Lexington Common. In a celebrated discourse of 
the year 1763 he had bidden his congregation to reflect 
upon all that their forefathers suffered from bishops. 

^ " Of seven men, who acted as presiding officer over the dehberations 
of Congress during the Revolutionary period, three were of Huguenot 
parentage : Laurens, Boudinot, and Jay." The Homes of American 
Statesmen, by Elbert Hubbard ; New York and London, 1898. 

2 Many of the American Puritans, or most of them, had not been 
Nonconformists at home. John Winthrop, the first and best of Massa- 
chusetts Governors, wrote thus in a farewell letter when his ship was 
about to sail : "Take notice that the principals and body of our company 
esteem it our honour to call the Church of England, from whence wee 
rise, our deare mother, and cannot part from our native country, where 
she specially resideth, without much sadness of heart, and many tears in 
our eyes." Those were the sort of people hundreds of thousands of whom 
more than now, but for Laud and his coadjutors, would be in the Church 
of England to-day. 


Would " the mitred, lordly successors of the fishermen 
of Galilee," (he asked,) *' never let us rest in peace, 
except where all the weary are at rest ? Was it not 
enough that they had persecuted us out of the Old 
World ? Would they now pursue us into the New, 
compassing sea and land to make us proselytes ? What 
other sanctuary from their oppressions would be left 
us, if once these colonies were added to their domain ? 
Where was the Columbus to explore for us another 
America, and pilot us to its shores, before we are con- 
sumed by the flames, or deluged in a flood, of Episco- 
pacy?" Mayhew traced the origin of his political and 
his ecclesiastical creed to the prose works of John Mil- 
ton ; nor was the surge of his eloquence, or the furious, 
and sometimes turbid, current of his invective, unworthy 
of the source from which his doctrine had been drawn. 
The vehemence of language employed by such men at 
such epochs, — surprising, and even shocking, to a cool 
and impartial posterity, — has a prime historical value as 
illustrating the inner mind of those among their con- 
temporaries and fellow-citizens who listened to such 
high-pitched and scathing rhetoric with unreserved con- 
viction and enthusiastic approval.^ 

The stormy aspect of politics did not intimidate the 
Anglican clergy of the colonies into letting their de- 
mand for a bishop drop. Doctor John Vardill of New 
York wrote to Lord Dartmouth that the equity and 
utility of such a measure seemed no longer doubtful, 
and that the only question now was whether an imme- 

1 Another of Mayhew's sermons, (which John Adams placed on a 
level of satire and irony with the productions of Swift and Franklin,) was 
the Discourse concerning Unlimited Submission, preached on the Sunday 
immediately after the Thirtieth of January, 1750. Mayhew there laid it 
down as his opinion that the commemoration of the death of Charles the 
First would have at least one good result, if it should " prove a standing 
memento that Britons will not be slaves, and a warning to all corrupt 
councillors and ministers not to go too far in advising arbitrary despotic 
measures." The time came when such a memento had its uses ; but it 
was not needed while old George the Second was King, and still less when 
Chatham became his minister, 

VOL. ni. u 


diate appointment would be seasonable.^ His letter 
was dated the First of September, 1774; the precise 
day when General Gage seized the powder of the 
Massachusetts militia, and when the freeholders of the 
province marched into Cambridge many thousand strong 
in order to show the Royal Governor that he had better 
not try their patience again, as there was a very scanty 
supply of it remaining. And then, after no long inter- 
val, the fateful moment arrived when 

" The war of tongue and pen 
Learns with what deadly purpose it was fraught, 
And, helpless in the fiery passion caught, 
Shakes all the pillared State with shock of men." 

An historian of rare philosophical insight, and unsur- 
passed range of reading over all the period which he 
treats, has analysed the nature of the moral convulsion 
which was produced in the national mind of America 
by the outbreak of hostilities between King George's 
troops and the minute-men. "As the news," (so the 
passage runs,) ''travelled from man to man, on white 
lips, up and down the country, all at once on each 
group of listeners there seemed to come a spiritual 
revolution ; " an instantaneous conviction that hence- 
forward all questions of stamps, and paints, and glass, 
and tea, — all fine-drawn constitutional arguments about 
the Right of Representation and the Right of Petition, 
— were already things of a dead past. Americans 
found themselves confronted of a sudden by terribly 
grave, and in no sense metaphysical, problems relating 
to their necks and fortunes, the inviolability of their 
homes, and the security of their families.^ Every one,^ 
from that moment onward, would have to fight for 
whatever, as a private man, he held dearest ; and the 

1 Before the end of the year Doctor Vardill embarked for England, 
" wrote some poetical satires on the Whigs," and eventually closed his 
career in a Lincolnshire Rectory. That was a normal biography for an 
Episcopalian clergyman of the American Revolution. 

^Professor Tyler's Literary History; Vol. L, chapter xix., sec- 
tion iii. 


clergy of the great Evangelical Churches throughout 
the continent believed that something was at stake 
which they valued more highly than all their material 
possessions together. There was not a single instance 
in history, (said one of them,) in which civil liberty was 
lost, and religious liberty preserved entire ; so that, 
if the colonists accepted political subjugation, they 
would at the same time deliver their conscience into 
bondage. Such was the view of Doctor John Wither- 
spoon, the President of Princeton College, whose library 
the Hessians ransacked ; and that persuasion was al- 
most universally entertained by Presbyterian, Baptist, 
and Congregational ministers. At the first call to arms 
they flung themselves into the cause of the Revolution, 
zealously, uncompromisingly, and with most visible, 
and even decisive, consequences. In America, (accord- 
ing to one Loyalist writer,) as in the Great Rebellion 
of England, much execution was done by sermons. 
" What effect," said another, ** must it have had upon 
the audience to hear the same sentiments and principles, 
which they had before read in a newspaper, delivered on 
Sundays from the sacred desk, with a religious awe, and 
the most solemn appeals to heaven, from lips which they 
had been taught from their cradles to believe could 
utter nothing but eternal truths ! " 

So long as the war endured there was no lack of 
stated and special occasions for bringing clerical influence 
to bear. Full advantage was taken of Fast-days, Thanks- 
giving-days, Election-days, and the anniversaries of 
battles and of other momentous events which had oc- 
curred during the progress of the struggle.^ In perilous 
emergencies prayers were ordered throughout the Con- 
federacy for deliverance from the hand of the enemy ; 
for a plentiful harvest which would enable those, who 
gathered in the crops at home, to supply the needs of 
their brethren in the army ; and, — always and above 
all, — for genuine and heart-felt repentance of those sins 
that had brought down God's wrath upon the commu- 

^ Tyler's History ; Vol. II., chapter xxxv., section i. 




nity. From time to time some Church Synod would 
address to its congregations a Pastoral Letter setting 
forth, and enforcing, the whole duty of man in time of 
war and civil dissension. The Societies were admon- 
ished and adjured to maintain the union between the 
colonies ; to respect Congress, and those delegates who 
had been freely chosen by the people ; to observe a 
spirit of candour, charity, and mutual esteem towards 
members of other religious denominations ; to dis- 
courage profligacy and extravagance ; to defend public 
order; and, (as in many places legal proceedings had 
been unavoidably suspended,) to see that just debts 
were promptly and honestly paid. Whatever other 
advice the letter might contain, it began and ended with 
a reminder that no man could be a true servant of the 
nation, whose private conduct was not regulated by the 
Divine law ; or a good soldier, unless he fought and 
conquered what was evil in himself.^ 

The sincerity of these exhortations was attested by 
a general movement for the reformation of manners, 
even where they had not been very bad before. In the 
Southern and Central colonies theatrical entertainments 
had long enjoyed a popularity which scandalised the 
Pennsylvanian Quakers, whom enterprising managers 
vainly essayed to conciliate by advertising their come- 
dies and tragedies as a series of Moral Dialogues in 
five parts. The Northern provinces, as a rule, kept the 
drama rigidly outside their confines ; but New England 
had her own dissipations. The company at a funeral 
was served with meat and drink ; though with a great 
deal less of the latter than in Virginia and the Carolinas. 
Seven hundred, a thousand, and so many as three 

^ The American Archives give a fine specimen of such a document in 
a Pastoral Letter from the Synod of New York and Philadelphia to the 
Congregations under their care, to be delivered from the Pulpit on the 20th 
of July, 1775. The outbreak of a war, (it is there said,) should be regarded 
as " the proper time for pressing all of every rank to consider the things 
that belong to their eternal peace. There is nothing more awful to think 
of than that those, whose trade is war, should be despisers of the name of 
the Lord of Hosts." 



thousand, pairs of gloves had been distributed on such 
occasions ; and the worth of the mourning-rings and 
silken scarves, which fell to the share of a leading Boston 
clergyman, constituted a valuable augmentation of his 
yearly income. Volleys were fired over the graves of 
distinguished citizens, to the consumption, in one case, 
of a barrel and a half of powder. But, on and after the 
nineteenth of April, 1775, all the procurable saltpetre 
was husbanded for a more urgent purpose ; and before 
that date the First Continental Congress had already 
pledged every patriot to refrain from expensive articles 
of adornment at burials, and to shun and discountenance 
horse-racing, and all kinds of gaming, cock-fighting, ex- 
hibitions of shows, plays, and other diversions. If the 
prohibition of theatrical performances had been enacted 
by law, (it has been acutely said,) a loophole might 
have been discovered in the Statute ; ** but the manager, 
who should have disregarded the expressed wish of 
Congress at this time, would have looked the lightning 
in the face. The actors sailed for the West Indies ; to 
return Northward, like migratory birds of song, when 
storms should have blown over." ^ 

The corporate and collective action of the American 
clergy was a mighty force in politics ; but the influence 
of the individual minister must be accounted as more 
important still. That influence, though dependent on 
the esteem and personal regard felt towards him by 
his neighbours, was almost absolute in spiritual matters, 
and not seldom extended over every department of 
daily life. In the farmhouses which lay within a long 
walk, or leisurely drive, of his residence, the pastor was 
a welcome guest whenever the shadow of his great hat 

^ Article on Social Life in the Colonies^ by the Rev*. Edward Eggles- 
ton ; 1884. During the outburst of feeling against the Stamp Act in 1765, 
the New York mob, ascetic beyond its wont, pulled down a theatre. 

The New England Puritans felt and acted like their forefathers when 
in much the same stress of peril. In 1642, three weeks before Edgehill, 
the Houses voted that public sports did not agree well with public calami- 
ties ; and that while sad causes, and set times of humiliation, continued, 
stage-plays should cease and be forborne. 


darkened the threshold. There he would sit, sipping 
the decoction of sassafras which did duty for tea in a 
strict patriotic household ; asking affectionately after the 
son who was serving with his regiment ; smiling gravely 
at the portrait of King George as it hung head down- 
wards on the wall ; reading out, with vigorous com- 
ments, the latest news from Congress, and from the 
Canadian border ; and dropping some uncomplimentary 
epithet with reference to any Cabinet minister whose 
name came up in the conversation, save and except the 
good Lord Dartmouth. His more remote parishioners 
lived in the light of his countenance at least on one 
day in every week, and all that day long. When the 
Sunday came, they flocked into the chief settlement of 
the Township from forest-clearings and upland hamlets, 
and spent the interval between the Services before the 
great fire-place in the minister's kitchen, or in the 
Sabbath-houses and noon-houses which dotted the vil- 
lage green. These humble caravanseries provided a 
stable at the back of the building, and a roughly fur- 
nished parlour where the families from a distance ate 
their cold viands, and in quieter times talked over the 
sermon, or listened to the reading aloud of an edify- 
ing book ; ^ but during the Revolution there was, in 
one notable respect, no restraint upon their talk ; inas- 
much as it was clearly understood, by all concerned, 
that the war ranked as a Sunday topic. 

Inside the church, fervent, and perpetually varied, 
prayers for the temporal welfare of the nation, and for 
the protection of those friends and kinsmen who were 
under arms in the fore-front of peril, excited warmer 
emotions than are ordinarily evoked by the weekly 
repetition of the words set down in the Episcopalian 
Liturgy for use in time of War and Tumults. Allusions 
to those public hopes and fears, that filled every heart, 
kept the sermon alive from the giving out of the text to 
the valedictory sentence, which was often very long in 

^ Article on Church and Meeting-house before the Revolution by the 
Rcv^. Edward Eggleston, D.D.; April 1887. 



coming.^ A preacher, who fell short of what was ex- 
pected of him as a good citizen, soon received a hint that 
his people were displeased and disappointed ; ^ but there 
were few of their profession who needed spurring ; and, 
if any of them hung back for a while, their hesitation 
disappeared as soon as muskets had been discharged 
in anger. That clergyman who, on the afternoon of 
Lexington, at the head of his parishioners attacked 
and captured a provision convoy in the rear of Lord 
Percy's column, had been refused the use of a Whig 
pulpit because he was suspected of being lukewarm in 
the colonial cause ; but his Toryism lasted no longer 
than the moment when the red-coats passed in front of 
his window on their march to Concord. There stood 
lately, and perhaps now stands, a quaint stone and 
brick meeting-house at Rocky Spring in the Cumber- 
land Valley, where, at a certain point in a discourse, 
the Presbyterian congregation of Scottish-Irishmen rose 
to their feet, and declared their readiness to march at 
once to the aid of General Washington. One of the 
mothers, who grudged her son as food for powder at so 
short a notice, then and there protested in homely and 
cutting phrases ; — a remonstrance to which the preacher 
replied by marching with his people as their captain ; 
and a very good captain he made.^ 

The ministers, however, who abode in their parsonages 
did much more for the Revolution than if they had gone 

1 " Wee have a strong weakness in that, when wee are speaking, wee 
know not how to conclude. Wee make many ends before wee make an 
end." So wrote, in 1641, the Reverend Nathaniel Ward, author of The 
Simple Cobbler of Aggawam in America ; and the confession still held 
good in the fourth generation of New England preachers. 

2 Shortly after the battle of Bunker's Hill John Adams wrote to his 
wife, inquiring whether a certain clergyman preached against oppression, 
and bidding her tell him that the clergy in Philadelphia thundered and 
lightened every Sabbath. " They pray for Boston and the Massachusetts. 
They thank God most explicitly and fervently for our remarkable successes. 
They pray for the American army." 

^ "Quit talking, Mr. Craighead," (she said,) "and gang yersel' to the 
war. You are always preaching to the boys about it, but I dinna think 
ye'd be very likely to gang yersel'. Just go and try it ! " Article on the 
Country Church in America by William B. Bigelow ; November 1897. 


off in a body to the war. A new Government, — with a 
volunteer army, and a loosely organised political consti- 
tution, - -was immeasurably strengthened by the circum- 
stance that at least one person of good education, and 
long-estabHshed authority, who was at the same time a 
keen and indefatigable champion of the popular party, 
was planted in every town, and in most of the larger 
villages. The clergy made it their business to see that 
staunch patriots, and shrewd men of affairs, were re- 
turned to Congress ; that war taxes were generously 
voted, and conscientiously paid ; that the ranks of the 
local Company were replenished with recruits ; and that 
whoever had once enlisted should stay with the colours 
until his time was up. A farming lad who tired of cam- 
paigning, and was tempted to return home without leave, 
knew well that, — even if his sweet-heart forgave him, 
and his father was secretly glad to have him back for 
the hay-harvest, — he should never dare to face the min- 
ister. From first to last, in each district throughout the 
continent, there was a leader and adviser always at hand 
to encourage those who were more timorous, and less con- 
stant, than himself ; whether amid the doubts and mis- 
givings of the crucial period when men were first taking 
sides, or in the terror and anxiety consequent upon the 
early disasters of the Republic, or throughout that fit of 
utter weariness which settled down upon the public mind 
during the later stages of the lingering struggle. There 
was no exaggeration whatever in the report made to 
Lord Dartmouth by his principal American correspond- 
ent. Religion, (this gentleman wrote,) had operated as 
much as any other cause to the general distraction ; and 
his Lordship would be greatly mistaken unless he re- 
garded the conflict as mainly a religious war.^ 

The Episcopalian clergy of America were not so uni- 
versally Tory as the Presbyterian and Congregational 

1 Ambrose Serle to Lord Dartmouth ; New York, November 1776. 
"Your Lordship," (Mr. Serle wrote shortly afterwards,) "can scarcely 
conceive what Fury the discourses of some preachers have created in this 


ministers were Whig ; ^ but those of them, who stood 
for the Crown, formed a large majority among their 
brethren ; and they were very hot partisans indeed. For 
the most part they confidently believed that the hour 
had come, late in time, when Archbishop Laud's plan 
for securing Church government in the colonies might 
be successfully adopted. That prelate, in 1638, had 
proposed to send a Bishop across the ocean, and to sup- 
port him " with some forces to compel, if he could not 
otherwise persuade, obedience." Early in the war a 
missionary of the Propagation Society, who had recently 
left New York, reported at the Annual Meeting in Lon- 
don that the rebellion would undoubtedly be crushed, 
and that then would be the time to take steps for 
increasing the Church in America by granting it an 
Episcopacy ; but after the battle of Trenton, and the 
collapse of Howe's campaign, the prospect of that con- 
summation was removed into a less near future. There 
Was, however, one portion of the American population 
already at the absolute disposal of the British Govern- 
ment ; and, in their treatment of those unlucky people, 
the royal authorities prematurely showed their hand. 
The commander of a garrison town where many officers 
of the Revolutionary army, who had been taken in bat- 
tles, were living on parole, announced himself as having 
been informed that the rebel prisoners had held private 
meetings for the purpose of performing Divine Service 
agreeably to their religious principles. Such meetings, 
(he told them,) would no longer be allowed ; but seats 
would be provided at the Parish Church, where it was 
expected that they would observe the utmost decency. 
One of the most esteemed among the prisoners replied 
in an address not deficient in dignity and pathos ; but 
the policy was maintained, and the Americans who had 
been captured at Long Island and Fort Washington 
were given the choice of abstaining from all attendance 

^ In Garden's Anecdotes it is alleged that no fewer than five-and-twenty 
clergymen of the Carolinian Established Church were in favour of the 
Revolution ; but the statement requires confirmation. 


on public worship, or of taking part in prayers for the 
slaughter and discomfiture of their own friends and 

While the EpiscopaHan Church reigned supreme in 
all districts over which the Royal standard floated, out- 
side the British lines it nowhere remained dominant, 
and in many places it very soon became a persecuted 
body. The AngHcan Establishment in the Southern 
Plantations went down beneath the first gust of the 
tornado. Ecclesiastical endowments and privileges were 
extinguished as automatically, instantly, and irrevocably 
as Feudal dues and services disappeared throughout 
rural France so soon as the peasants learned that the 
Bastille had fallen. Moreover, in July 1775, the Vir- 
ginian Convention ordained certain alterations in the 
Communion service, and in the fifteenth, and the three 
following sentences, of the Litany. All mention of the 
King and the Royal Family was to be expunged from 
the Prayer-book ; and the blessings of Heaven were 
thenceforward to be invoked on behalf " of the Magis- 
trates of this Commonwealth." It was as drastic a test 
as the command laid upon primitive Christians to burn 
frankincense on Jupiter's altar ; and it was encountered 
with almost as much courage and devotion. 

Soon after Washington assumed command in New 
York, he sent word to Doctor Inglis, then Assistant 
Rector of the Trinity Church in that city, that he 

1 It was an action, (so the remonstrance ran,) " totally unworthy of the 
Christian character, and even short of Heathen tenderness and forbear- 
ance. For we read in Scripture that Paul, then a prisoner in Rome, dwelt 
for two years in his own hired house, and relieved all that came unto him, 
preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern 
the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence ; no man forbidding htjn. 
This only was our desire ; and this we think was our duty. . . . Can it 
be expected that we could, with the least sincerity, join in prayer for the 
daily destruction of our brethren ? Rather than join in such hypocritical 
petitions, and perhaps be insulted with sermons calculated to affront us, 
we have resolved to refuse our attendance on Divine worship, and at our 
own dwellings silently to spend our returning Sabbaths, in the best man- 
ner we can, by reading and meditation, until it shall please the Almighty 
to restore us again to peace, and to our afflicted families and friends." 


would be glad to have the prayers for the King and the 
Royal Family omitted. The American General was 
sincerely desirous to be present at the services of his 
own Church ; but a person of even less ingrained verac- 
ity than George Washington would have scrupled to 
join in supplications for the victory of a monarch against 
whom he had set in line of battle twenty thousand sol- 
diers, carrying pouches filled with bullets which had 
been cast from the metal of His Majesty's statue. 
Doctor Inglis, at the time, took no notice of the Gener- 
al's message, and not long afterwards told him plainly, 
and to his face, that, with an armed force at his disposal, 
he could, of course, shut up churches, but that it was 
beyond his power to make clergymen depart from their 
duty. The Reverend Jacob Bailey was summoned before 
a Provincial Committee of Safety, to explain why he re- 
fused to read the Declaration of Independence in pub- 
lic. Bailey, — who was an itinerant missionary, married, 
and with a young family, — replied that he had formerly 
taken an oath of allegiance to George the Second, and 
held himself bound thereby not to renounce, but to pray 
for, George the Third. During the first six months of 
1775 the Reverend Jonathan Boucher, of Annapolis in 
Maryland, always preached with a pair of loaded pistols 
lying on the cushion in front of him ; and indeed, with 
no aid from fire-arms, he was well known to be more 
than a match for any single member of his congrega- 
tion.^ But, though valiant, he was not foolhardy ; and 
the day came when he solemnly and sadly told his peo- 
ple from the pulpit that they would see his face there 
no more ; but that, as long as he lived, he should cry, 
with Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, '* God 
save the King." 

^ Some cowardly fellows set a burly ruffian of a blacksmith upon Mr. 
Boucher. The rector at once knocked down his assailant ; but took 
neither pride nor pleasure in the achievement. He somewhat plaintively 
and shamefacedly described himself as having acquired, in all that region, 
greater honour by his act of prowess than would have been accorded to 
him there if he had possessed the brain of Isaac Newton. 



That was Jonathan Boucher's farewell sermon at 
Annapolis. With more or less outrage and insult the 
stalwart Loyalists among the English clergy were driven 
from their churches.^ One or two admirable men, dis- 
arming rancour by meekness, remained at their posts, 
and did as much of their duty, as the Sons of Liberty 
permitted, with fidelity and rare discretion. The Rever- 
end John Wiswald, of Fahnouth in Maine, continued to 
serve his parish until one of King George's post-captains 
burned down the little town, and the English church 
with it. The Reverend John Sayrc, of Fairfield in Con- 
necticut, was sadly harried and oppressed by the Whigs 
of the vicinity ; but his patient manliness at length 
shamed them into forbearance. During several years 
he continued to officiate on Sundays, reading the Bible 
and the Homilies, but none of the Prayer-book ; be- 
cause, since he was forbidden to use the Liturgy in its 
entirety, he could not find it with his conscience to muti- 
late it. Half-way through the war Governor Tryon, on 
one of his customary raids, set fire to the town of Fair- 
field. The flames spread to the EngHsh church and the 
parsonage ; the Communion plate was destroyed, as 
well as a valuable little library given by the Society for 
the Propagation of the Gospel ; and Mr. Sayre was left 
with " a wife, and eight children, destitute of food, house, 
and raiment." ^ 

Such experiences, in the end, proved too strong even 
for the most zealous and long-suffering of mankind. 

^ There were parishes where the assertion of the popular will was made 
decently and in order, but to the full as efficaciously as in those where the 
extreme of violence was employed. In August, 1774, the Curate of St. 
Michael's, in Charleston, preached a political discourse. " Every silly 
clown," he said, "and every illiterate mechanic, will take upon him to 
censure the conduct of his Prince or Governor, and will contribute, as 
much as in him lies, to create and foment misunderstandings which come 
at last to schisms in the Church, and sedition and rebellion in the State." 
The Vestry of St. Michael's took official cognisance of the sermon, and 
dismissed the Curate. 

^ Letter addressed by the Reverend John Sayre, towards the close of 
1779, to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. 


Episcopalian churches were silent and deserted ; ^ and 
the wisest and best of the Loyalist Episcopahan clergy 
took their departure from a country where they were 
no longer useful. English Churchmen, both at home 
and in the colonies, readily and spontaneously acknow- 
ledged their obligation to those honourable and resolute 
men. Boucher, soon after his arrival in England, be- 
came Vicar of Epsom,^ and his preaching was much 
admired; Doctor Inglis passed over to Nova Scotia, 
where he was eventually appointed the first Colonial 
Bishop in the British dominions in any part of the 
world; and Jacob Bailey obtained a Rectory in the 
same province.^ Some keen clerical politicians, unable 
to tear themselves from the tumultuous joys and emo- 
tions of the strife, stayed behind at New York, or on 
the islands in the Bay ; for they could not with impunity 
take up their residence beyond the beat of the British 
drums. Haunting regimental mess-rooms; collecting 
and dispensing scraps of Tory gossip ; writing those 
satires and lampoons which were the staple " political 
literature of the period, now that serious constitutional 
argument had been drowned in the roar of battle ; and 
celebrating the most recent military success over a 
haunch of venison and a dozen of madeira, — they led 
a desultory and demoralising life, not altogether becom- 
ing to their cloth. Each man of them employed, in the 
furtherance of the Royal cause, such gifts and accom- 
plishments as he individually possessed, — from the Vir- 
ginian parson of the old school who, with a bowl of 
grog in his hand, drank victory to the British arms,* up 

1 Out of very near a hundred Virginian incumbents, only twenty-eight 
remained in their parishes, and saw the war through. 

2 Sabine's Loyalists ; Vol. I., page 240. 

3 Mr. Bailey's unbounded charity and hospitality, all through his life, 
kept him poor in pelf ; though he was very rich in children. One of his 
sons got a commission in the British line, and was killed at Chippewa in 
1814, fighting with his regiment against the army of the United States. 

* This incident took place at " the Ordinary of Mr. John Tankersly." 
The Reverend Thomas Jackson, of Virginia, was in consequence de* 
nounced by the Charlotte County Committee as an enemy to his country. 



to Jonathan Odell, the clergyman-poet, who had been 
expelled by the New Jersey Whigs from his Rectory at 
BurUngton. That fiery partisan, in imitation of another 
famous exile, composed an imaginary picture of the 
Regions of Torment, with immense elaboration and at 
inordinate length, and peopled it with prominent Con- 
gressmen and with Generals of the Continental Army. 
But, as a consequence of the changes which the lapse 
of time has wrought in the creed and the taste of the 
world, certain literary possibilities have passed away, 
perhaps for ever ; and even the genius of Dante, which 
bore little resemblance to that of Jonathan Odell, would 
almost certainly have failed over an attempt to produce 
an eighteenth-century Inferno.^ 

The political action of the Anglican clergy was seri- 
ously, and sometimes very painfully, embarrassing to 
those lay members of their body who had adopted the 
opposite view of the great question. Such men were 
very numerous. Among the first five Presidents of the 
United States, including all who may fairly be classed as 
contemporaries of the Revolution, no fewer than three 
were Episcopalians; and a better Churchman, — or, at 
all events, a better man who ranked himself as a Church- 
man, — than George Washington it would have been hard 
indeed to discover. When at home on the bank of the 
Potomac, he had always gone of a Sunday morning to 
what would have been called a distant church by any one 

When the officers, who had been made prisoners at Fort Washington, 
were confined in Long Island, they were invited to the country-house of a 
rich New York merchant. " After dinner," wrote one of them, " the son 
of our entertainer, a boy about seven or eight years of age, came into the 
room ; and his father, putting a glass of wine into his hand, asked him 
what he drank. 'Church and King ! ' pronounced the little fellow in an 
audible voice. Perhaps it was designed as a delicate mode of assuring us 
that the civility we received was not to be regarded in any degree as a 
toleration of our principles." It is a pretty story, and indicates how com- 
pletely the political and religious questions were identified in the American 

1 The last five paragraphs have been chiefly written by the aid of 
Sabine's Loyalists, Tyler's Literary History^ Garden's Anecdotes, and the 
American Archives, 


except a Virginian equestrian ; and he spent Sunday 
afternoons, alone and unapproachable, in his library. 
In war he found time for daily prayer and meditation, (as, 
by no wish of his, the absence of privacy, which is a 
feature in camp life, revealed to those who were imme- 
diately about him ;) he attended public worship himself ; 
and by every available means he encouraged the practice 
of religion in his soldiers, to whom he habitually stood 
in a kind of fatherly relation. There are many pages 
in his Orderly Books which indicate a determination that 
the multitude of young fellows, who were entrusted to 
his charge, should have all possible facilities for being 
as well-behaved as in their native villages.^ It therefore 
was the more noticeable that he ceased to be a regular 
Communicant as long as the war lasted. Washington 
always had his reasons for what he did, or left undone ; 
but he seldom gave them ; and his motive for abstaining 
from the Sacrament was not a subject on which he 
would be inclined to break his ordinary rule of reticence. 
On one occasion during his campaigns he is known to 
have taken the Communion under circumstances which 
throw some light upon his inward convictions. While 
the army was quartered at Morristown, the Presbyterians 
of the place were about to hold their half-yearly admin- 
istration. Washington paid a visit to their minister, and 
enquired whether it accorded with the canon of his 
Church to admit Communicants of another denomination. 
** Most certainly," the clergyman answered. ** Ours is 
not the Presbyterian table. General, but the Lord's table." 
" I am glad of it," said Washington. ** That is as it 
ought to be. Though a member of the Church of Eng- 

1 The troops were excused fatigue-duty in order that they might not miss 
church. If public worship was interrupted on a Sunday by the call to arms, 
a service was held on a convenient day in the ensuing week. The chap- 
lains were exhorted to urge the soldiers that they ought to live and act like 
Christian men in times of distress and danger; and after every great 
victory, and more particularly at the final proclamation of Peace, the Com- 
mander-in-Chief earnestly recommended that the army should universally 
attend the rendering of thanks to Almighty God "with seriousness of 
deportment, and gratitude of heart." 


land, I have no exclusive partialities." And accordingly 
on the next Sunday he took his place among the Com- 

Washington loved his own Church the best, and had 
no mind to leave it ; but he was not hostile to any faith 
which was sincerely held, and which exerted a restraining 
and correcting influence upon human conduct. " I am 
disposed," (he once told Lafayette,) " to indulge the 
professors of Christianity with that road to Heaven which 
to them shall seem the most direct, plainest, easiest, and 
least liable to exception." His feeling on this matter 
was accurately expressed in the instructions which he 
wrote out for Benedict Arnold, when that officer led an 
armed force of fierce and stern New England Protestants 
against the Roman Catholic settlements in Canada. The 
whole paper was a lesson in the statesmanship which is 
founded on respect and consideration for others, and still 
remains well worth reading.^ In after years, as Presi- 
dent of the United States, Washington enjoyed frequent 
opportunities for impressing his own sentiments and 
policy, in all that related to religion, upon the attention 
of his compatriots. The Churches of America were 
never tired of framing and presenting Addresses which 
assured him of their confidence, veneration, and sympa- 
thy ; and he as invariably replied by congratulating them 
that in their happy country worship was free, and that 
men of every creed were eligible to every post of honour 
and authority.^ 

Washington's views were shared by most Virginians 
of .his class and epoch. On the twelfth of June, 1776, 

^ Section fourteen of the Instructions to Colonel Benedict Arnold of 
September 1775. The Writings of George Washington,^ o\. III., page 89. 

2 « We have abundant reason to rejoice," (so, in January 1793, the 
President told the Members of the New Church of Baltimore,) " that every 
person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. 
In this enlightened age, and in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast 
that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws, nor 
deprive him of the right of attaining, and of holding, the highest offices 
that are known in the United States." 


the Convention at Williamsburg, with no dissenting 
voice, adopted their celebrated Declaration of Rights, 
of which the Sixteenth Article asserted the doctrine of 
Religious Liberty with eloquence and precision. The 
original draft contained a pronouncement in favour of 
Toleration ; but that equivocal word was expunged at 
the instance of James Madison, afterwards the fourth 
President of the United States. Toleration, (Madison 
argued,) belonged to a community where there was an 
established church, and where a limited freedom of 
worship was conceded by grace, and not of right. At 
the very moment when that Sixteenth Article was 
under discussion before the Convention, the Virginian 
Baptists, — whose preachers, up to a quite recent date, 
had been in and out of prison as criminals, — were 
carrying round for signature a petition praying that 
they might "be allowed to worship God in their own 
way, without interruption." So suddenly had the air in 
the Old Dominion been cleared and purified by the 
explosion of gunpowder; and so decisively had the 
public mind judged and condemned the existing system 
of ecclesiastical predominance, even before there had 
been time to abrogate it by law. The Virginian Con- 
vention could only proceed by Resolution ; but half- 
way through 1776 it ceased to sit, and the first State 
Legislature was duly elected and assembled under the 
terms of the new Constitution. An Act was at once 
passed relieving Dissenters from Church-taxes ; and 
another Statute suspended the payment of salaries to 
the Established clergy. That provisional arrangement 
was confirmed and perpetuated by a succession of 
enactments, which finally culminated in a famous law, 
the model of its kind, entitled ** An Act for establishing 
Religious Freedom in the State of Virginia." 

Virginia's example was more or less speedily followed 
by all the provinces. When the Revolution began, mis- 
sionaries of the Propagation Society, in certain counties 
of Delaware, told all, who wished to listen, that the 
political agitation against the Royal Government had 



been deliberately planned by Presbyterians with the 
object of getting their own religion established ; that it 
originated in New England ; and that it was fostered 
and abetted by the Presbyterians in every colony.^ The 
event triumphantly refuted that idle and gratuitous cal- 
umny. Whatever questionable maxim might thereafter 
come to be adopted by Americans in their secular politics, 
the sons of the Puritans had not fought the war in order 
that religious endowments and privileges might be spoil 
for the victors. The Church of England was disestab- 
lished in the Southern Plantations not from greed or 
malice, but on principle ; and the predominant Churches 
in the North appHed that principle consistently, unspar- 
ingly, and honestly to themselves. So great a sacrifice 
was not made everywhere at once, nor without searching 
of heart, nor, (in some instances,) without keen regret; 
but within the second generation after the Declaration 
of Independence the last vestige of connection between 
Church and State had ceased to exist in every province 
of the Union. Long before that period arrived, the col- 
lective will of the American people had been announced 
in language which there was no mistaking. The Federal 
Constitution was the work of statesmen among whom 
there were some very brilliant and profuse orators; but 
they did not seek to display their gifts in the treatment 
of a theme which can dispense with the aid of rhetoric. 
They thought it enough to enact, first, that no Religious 
Test should ever be required as a qualification to any 
office, or public trust, under the United States; and, 
then, that Congress should make no law respecting an 
Establishment of Religion, or prohibiting the free exer- 
cise thereof. Those were few and simple words ; but 
they covered the whole ground of the most universal, 
and the most vital, of all controversies. Thus it came 
about that America, (as one of her historians proudly 
notes,) from the very commencement of her national life 
ordained throughout the land full liberty of mind, con- 
science, and worship, and explicitly forbade any unwar- 
^ John Adams to Thomas McKean; Philadelphia, 15 November, 1815. 



ranted intrusion of human authority into realms where 
the Divine sovereignty should alone hold sway.^ 

Americans are firmly persuaded that a great service 
was rendered to the cause of true religion when all their 
Churches were directed into the paths of independence, 
self-reliance, and perfect equality before the law. That 
belief has been shared by a deeply read and widely 
observant writer who was not an American. De Tocque- 
ville said that he knew of no nation in the whole world 
where religion retained a stronger influence than in the 
United States ; for, by regulating domestic life, it regu- 
lated the Commonwealth, and was the most important 
among the institutions of the country. The truth of that 
remark may be disputable ; or, at least, it has been dis- 
puted ; but it is an historical fact that religious equality 
made for peace and mutual charity between Church and 
Church in the United States all through the first century 
of their federal existence. During that extended period, 
(whatever may be the case now, or hereafter,) matters of 
religion were entirely removed from the political arena, 
and were arranged, — with no opposition, and very little 
adverse comment, on the part of the outside public, — by 
the governing powers of that sect or denomination which 
on each occasion was specially and solely concerned. 

Earliest and foremost among the ecclesiastical prob- 
lems which were quietly, and permanently, solved was 
the long-vexed question of American bishops. With 
characteristic energy and boldness John Wesley was 
the first in a field where all were now at liberty to 
tread. The American Methodists had increased, dur- 
ing the ten years of the Revolutionary struggle, from 
two thousand to fifteen thousand ; and their preachers 
were counted by scores and hundreds. Hardly any of 
those preachers, however, were clergymen ; for during 
the war it was too dangerous, and for such humble 
people it had always been too expensive, to go in quest 
of ordination across the Atlantic. Fit candidates, indeed, 
were not wanting in England who would promise to sail 

^ Mr. Sandford Cobb's History of Religious Liberty ; pages 5 and 509. 



for the Western Continent after having been admitted 
to orders ; but the English bishops did not care to com- 
bat the spiritual desolation of America, which in their 
sermons they were accustomed to deplore, by the aid of 
any such auxiliaries. Wesley himself entreated Doctor 
Lowth, the Bishop of London, to ordain one of these 
Methodist preachers ; but his application was refused. 
"Your Lordship observes," (so Wesley wrote back,) 
" that there are three ministers in that country already. 
True, my Lord : but what are three to watch over the 
souls in that extensive country ? Will your Lordship 
permit me to speak freely?" And then, without wait- 
ing for that permission, Wesley proceeded to remonstrate 
with the bishop for approving candidates who possessed 
a smattering of the classics, and who had mastered a 
few trite points in the science of divinity, while he never 
enquired whether they loved God or the world, and 
whether they had any real desire to save their own 
souls, and the souls of others. ** But your Lordship 
did see good to ordain, and send to America, other 
persons who knew something of Greek and Latin, but 
knew no more of saving souls than of catching whales." 
John Wesley was not the man to accept a rebuff, 
which at the same time was an almost fatal blow to the 
cause whereon the labours of his life had been spent. 
If his ecclesiastical superiors would not come to the res- 
cue, he was himself, in the last resort, prepared with a 
remedy. So far back as the year 1761 he had emitted 
an opinion that a belief in the exclusive validity of 
Episcopal ordination was an entire mistake. He called 
himself, in so many words, a High Churchman ; but he 
was far from orthodox on the doctrine of the Apostolic 
Succession. Perhaps he thought that the chain of con- 
tinuity had been already severed ; perhaps he doubted 
whether it was worth preserving intact ; and he accord- 
ingly resolved to look around, on his own account, for 
some one endowed with the qualifications required of a 
bishop in the First Epistle to Timothy. He found what 
he wanted in Doctor Thomas Coke. That able and 


devoted, though not unambitious, divine had once been 
a Gentleman Commoner at Oxford, and subsequently 
held a benefice in the West of England. There he had 
sought out John Wesley, and confided to him a doubt 
whether clergymen were justified in limiting their ad- 
ministrations to a single congregation. **Go out, 
Brother ! " answered Wesley. '* Go out and preach the 
gospel to all the world ! " The time had now arrived 
when a notable effect was given to this solemn injunc- 
tion. In the autumn of 1784, at Bristol, in a private 
room, Wesley laid his hands upon the head of his friend, 
and set him apart as an overseer of the Methodist 
Churches in America, with a commission to ordain 
proper persons to the ministry. With Thomas Coke 
was associated Francis Asbury, who had been the pio- 
aeer of Methodism in America ; a man who did not seek, 
and who had led a life which was above, worldly praise. 
VVesley called his two delegates by the name of superin- 
\:endents ; but they exercised Episcopal functions, and 
they speedily assumed the Episcopal title ; for in May 
1787 they addressed to the President of the United 
States a Memorial commencing with the words, "We 
the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church." ^ 

Coke and Asbury soon had colleagues in their digni- 
fied office, and many colleagues ; for their Church 
increased in numbers, wealth, and repute with extraor- 
dinary rapidity. The Roman Catholics in the States 
were erelong provided with Bishops, and Archbishops, 
and, (in the fullness of time,) a Cardinal ; but no eccle- 
siastical body gained so much by the establishment of 
Religious Liberty and Equality as the Church which 
had been entitled the Church of England so long as the 
EngHsh connection lasted.^ Up to the Revolution the 
members of that body had been Episcopalians without 

* Tyerman's Life and Times of John Wesley ; Vol. III., pages 214, and 
433 to 437. Pages 249 and 250 contain a sketch of Francis Asbury's 
career; a record which is the more valuable because that high-minded, 
and, (in this respect especially,) exemplary man forbade any biography of 
himself to h^ published ; — an order which was not disobeyed. 

2 Dean Tucker of Gloucester had foretold that result thirteen years 


a bishop, to their own infinite loss and inconvenience; 
and the obstinate determination of all the other Churches 
to keep them in that condition of disadvantage, though 
not without excuse, had fostered very uncharitable and 
unchristian feelings in the religious world of America. 
After the Revolution, however, the grievance under 
which the Episcopalians had so long suffered was re- 
moved with the willing assent of all, and the hearty and 
helpful concurrence of some who had figured among 
the most eminent and formidable opponents of the Brit- 
ish Government. John Adams, as the first American 
Envoy at the Court of St. James's, was both active and 
discreet in his efforts to promote the consecration of 
American bishops in London. Benjamin Franklin, 
though himself no great church-goer, had all through 
life been very ready to give advice upon religious mat- 
ters, and sometimes to volunteer it in quarters where 
it was not acceptable. He had been the prime mover 
in equipping Philadelphia with a non-sectarian meeting- 
house, for the use of any preacher of any persuasion. 
Sectarian places of worship he seldom entered; (for he 
complained that the minister aimed at making his hearers 
good Presbyterians and Congregationalists rather than 
good citizens ;) but he taught his neighbours how to fit 
their steeples with lightning-conductors, and there was 
no end to the conspicuously unselfish trouble which he 
took in helping them to warm the inside of their 
churches. His interest in other people's religion once 
carried him so far that he assisted a Noble Lord of his 
acquaintance to abridge the Anglican Liturgy ; but that 
was almost the only unsuccessful venture of his enter- 
prising career, inasmuch as very few copies were sold, 
and the bulk became waste paper.^ 

before it happened. A very curious passage from his pen is printed in the 
Fourth Appendix at the end of this volume. 

1 Letter from Franklin printed in the Memoirs of Granville SharPy 
Esq.; Part II., chapter vi. Franklin attributed the failure of the book to 
his noble collaborator, who had abridged the Prayers very badly. He 
himself had undertaken only the Catechism, and the reading and singing 
Psalms. Franklin had suffered, very early in life, for his zeal in endeav- 


Franklin had always desired to see the controversy 
about American bishops settled upon equitable and 
reasonable terms ; he was ashamed of the evil-speaking 
and ill-temper which the dispute provoked ; ^ and, when 
the war had terminated, he did all he could to assist 
the Episcopalians in the accomplishment of their wishes. 
On their behalf he knocked at many doors. He in- 
quired of the Pope's Nuncio at Paris whether candidates 
might be ordained as Protestant clergymen by the 
Roman CathoHc bishop in America ; but to get such 
a prayer granted was beyond even Franklin's powers 
of persuasion.2 He then advised that recourse should 
be had to Frederic Augustus Hervey, the Lord Bishop 
of Derry in Ireland, whom he described, most assuredly 
in no exaggerated terms, as "a man of liberal senti- 
ments." He suggested an application to the ecclesiasti- 
cal authorities in Sweden and Denmark ; and, if all else 
failed, he recommended American Episcopalians, after 
the example of the primitive Christian Church in Scot- 
land, to elect and induct a bishop for themselves. A 
hundred years from that date, (Franklin said,) it would 
seem inconceivable that men, qualified by their learning 
and piety to pray for and instruct their fellows, should 
not have been permitted so to do until they had made 
a voyage of six thousand miles out and home, in order 
to ask leave of a cross old gentleman at Canterbury.^ 

It was fortunate for the American Episcopalians that 

curing to curtail religious ceremonies; for, after the manner of most 
reformers, he began young, and began on his father. Old Mr. Franklin 
was packing a barrel of beef in the cellar; and Benjamin suggested that 
time would be saved in the future by asking a blessing, once for all, over 
the whole barrel. 

1 Franklin wrote to his sister from England on this subject in February 
1769. "Your squabbles about a bishop," he said, "I wish to see speedily 
ended. ... I do not conceive that bishops residing in America would 
either be of such advantage to Episcopalians, or such disadvantage to 
anti- Episcopalians, as either seem to imagine. Each party abuses the 
other. The profane and infidel believe both sides, and enjoy the fray." 

2 "The thing is impossible," said the Nuncio, "unless the gentlemen 
become Catholics." 

* Franklin to Messrs. Weems and Gant ; Passy, 18 July, 1784. 


their cause had been espoused by a more suitable cham« 
pion than Benjamin Franklin. For a good many years 
past their unhappy condition had appealed to a man 
whose sympathy was never a barren or idle emotion. 
Granville Sharp possessed rare qualifications for the 
office of a mediator between the mother-country and 
her former colonies. His upright character, and ear- 
nest piety, secured for him the confidence of every sin- 
cere and devout member of the Church of England ; 
and the most vindictive Whigs of Massachusetts or Vir- 
ginia could not forget that, in the crisis of the recent 
struggle, he had accepted poverty rather than consent 
to raise his hand against the American cause. Stand- 
ing between the two parties, and revered by both, 
Granville Sharp adjured the Congregationalists and 
Presbyterians of the United States not to grudge their 
Episcopalian fellow-citizens a boon which was their un- 
doubted right, and essential to their welfare ; he stirred 
the conscience of those among the English bishops who 
had grown lukewarm towards the Church in America 
ever since they had been forced to abandon the hope 
of seeing it established, and regnant, throughout that 
country ; and he quickened the pace of the British Par- 
liament which, after its fashion, preferred to move by 
easy stages. Our laws forbade the ordination of any 
candidate, who found himself unable to take the Oath 
of Allegiance to the King; and in May 1784 an Act 
was passed, dispensing with this obligation in the case 
of priests and deacons who were not the King's subjects. 
No clergyman, however, who declined to swear could 
be consecrated as a bishop ; and accordingly it was ob- 
vious that in the United States bishops there could be 
none. An aspirant for orders must still cross the 
Atlantic, or remain a layman ; and the Church in 
America, although in no worse, nevertheless was as yet 
in no better, position than in the old days before the 

The existing conditions were intolerable, and the pros- 
pect of improvement small. Lord Chancellor Thurlow, 



the most potent force in Pitt's Cabinet on questions 
which touched the Church and involved the law, held 
that concession had gone too far already, and set his face 
stiffly against all further progress. But a still stronger, 
and a much better, man than Thurlow at this critical 
moment made his appearance on the scene. This was 
Doctor Seabury, who, under the name of a Westchester 
Farmer, wrote with so much wit and fire against the 
American Revolution during its earlier stages ; and 
who, in the interval between two fierce battles, had 
preached in General Howe's camp on the duty of fear- 
ing God and honouring the King. In the course of the 
war, Seabury had been ruthlessly used by political 
opponents who were his implacable personal enemies. 
He had been despoiled of almost everything else that 
belonged to him ; but he had retained, and increased, 
the respectful admiration with which he was regarded 
by good men of all parties among his compatriots. In 
the spring of 1783, (so we are told,) a little company of 
the clergy, — men as noble as ever manned a forlorn 
hope, or went down to ruin for a sacred idea, — as- 
sembled in a lonely Connecticut parsonage, solemnly 
designated Samuel Seabury as the first bishop of the 
American Episcopal Church, and requested him to go 
to England for consecration. ^ 

To England he went ; and there he was told by the 
Archbishop of Canterbury that the object which the 
Church in Connecticut sought was greatly to be desired, 
but that the difficulties were insuperable. "If your 
Grace," replied Seabury, " will not grant me consecra- 
tion, I know where to obtain it." He left the room 
abruptly, and started forthwith for Aberdeen ; and he 
was there admitted as a bishop by three non-juring pre- 
lates of the Scottish Episcopal Church.^ Shortly after- 
wards the King of Denmark ordered Mr. John Adams 
to be informed that the Danish bishops were prepared 
to ordain any American of proper qualities, and good 

1 Tyler's Literary History ; Vol. I., chapter xv., section vii. 

2 Memoirs of Granville Sharp ; Part II., chapters vi. and vii. 


character, who would subscribe the Articles of the 
Church of England. His Majesty, moreover, intimated 
his willingness to set up a bishopric in one of the West 
Indian Islands which belonged to Denmark, so that the 
candidates for orders might find facilities within a com- 
paratively short distance from their native shores. This 
announcement brought matters to an issue. ^ The 
knowledge that, in more than one quarter, there was 
competition for the future good graces of the Church in 
the United States produced an immediate effect on the 
British Cabinet, and on the Episcopal Bench in the 
House of Lords. In the Spring Session of 1786 a 
Statute was passed which allowed the Oath of Alle- 
giance to be omitted at the Consecration of Bishops 
who were citizens of foreign countries ; ^ and, in Febru- 
ary 1787, Granville Sharp enjoyed the well-deserved 
satisfaction of conducting two American clergymen to 
Lambeth for consecration. Before the close of the 
nineteenth century there were eighty bishops, in com- 
munion with the Church of England, on that soil where 
not a single one had been able to show his face until 
the establishment of National Independence deadened 
the memories, and soothed the apprehensions, which the 
Episcopal title formerly excited in an American's mind. 
A bishop, from that time forwards, was regarded as the 
freely chosen administrator and rector of a self-govern- 
ing religious body ; and no longer as the emissary of a 
militant State Church beyond the seas, which was 
abetted in all its invasions and encroachments by those 
Royal governors who wielded the authority of the Crown. 

1 John Adams had been in correspondence with the Danish Govern- 
ment with reference to the ordination of an American student of divinity, 
named Mason Weems. When a favourable answer came from Copen- 
hagen, it was communicated to Mr. Weems ; " and," wrote Adams, *' it 
soon procured him a more polite reception from the English clergy. In- 
deed, it laid the foundation of not only Mr. Weems's ordination, but of 
the whole system of Episcopacy in the United States." 

2 •* An Act to empower the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Arch- 
bishop of York, for the time being, to consecrate to the Office of a Bishop 
persons being Subjects or Citizens of Countries out of His Majesty's 



See page 140 

Extracts from Lieutenant- Colonel Markham's Journal 

" On January first, 1777, an express arrived to me at Spank- 
town, containing orders to march immediately to join General 
Matthew who commands at Brunswick, and to leave only an 
officer and thirty men to protect my baggage during my 
absence. As it was l^te before the order arrived, it was two 
o'clock in the afternoon before I began my march. At this 
time there was a general thaw, and cold raw wind with sleet 
and rain. It was a very dark night, and we were up to our 
knees in mire ; crossing waters of mill-dams ; every now and 
then walking over sheets of ice ; officers and men continually 
tumbling. I myself had I know not how many falls, every 
moment expecting to be attacked by the rebels. I never was 
more fatigued. At last I could scarcely move. General 
Matthew sent an officer to meet me, to show me his quarters, 
to which I was just able to crawl. The General asked me if 
we were not in want of some refreshment. I then plainly 
told him we had neither food nor liquor, and he very politely 
told me we should be supplied with both. He pressed me to 
sup with him ; which I declined, as I wanted rest more than 
anything else. Exhausted as I was, though my spirits were 
still good, I crawled back to my quarters, where the General 
sent me a large piece of roast beef, one ditto boiled, a roast 
goose, and a dozen bottles of Madeira, port, and rum. This 
was a prodigious relief to us. I got to bed about twelve 
o'clock, but too tired to sleep. At about one o'clock the 
General called upon me to tell me he had just received orders 
to march instantly to Brunswick, and for this purpose I was 



to form a battalion as soon as possible, and cross the bridge 
over the river, drawing up on the other side, to cover the 
bridge, while the cannon, stores, and baggage, were crossed 
over. At about six in the morning we got to Brunswick, the 
road being as bad as that over which we had before marched. 
I was now as much dead as ahve ; however my spirits did 
not fail me. We occupied the first houses at the end of the 
town, where the enemy was expected to attack, without taking 
off our accoutrements until eight in the morning." 

• •••••• 

*' My company lost a waggon loaded with baggage, by 
neglecting to protect it, and suffering the V'ankee driver, 
(who, I suppose through fright, drove it off,) to fall into the 
hands of the rebels. 'Fhey had small j)arties skulking about 
us. My Lieutenant has lost all his baggage by this unlucky 
hit. I am the more concerned for his loss, as he is only a 
soldier of fortune, and therefore can ill afford it. I felt, I 
think, what I should do if I was rich. His loss is, I believe, 
about 120/. Did the King know it, I am sure he is too good 
to let him be a sufferer. The only j)osts we now possess in 
the Jerseys are Paulas Hook, Perth .Amboy, Bonnum Town, 
the Raritan landing-place, and Brunswick. Happy had it 
been if at first we had fixed u[)on no other posts in this 
province ! Before, our line was ninety miles long, which we 
had to defend, and our small number of scattered troops 
formed too weak a chain. This post of Perth Amboy is far 
from being a good one, should Wasliington attack us. There 
is no market here ; and all we have to trust to is the King's 
allowance of provisions. The rebels here spread themselves 
all over the country, so that we cannot go beyond our sentries 
with any degree of safety." 


See page 220 

The correspondent of a London newspaper, in January 
1776, represents himself as having dined at the house of a 
worthy gentleman in the West of England who, *' for the sake of 
good neighbourhood, endeavoured to make his table a neutral 


ground for such of his friends as could calmly communicate 
over a turkey and chine, and a cheerful glass, without draw- 
ing daggers for Whig and Tory." A personage, who is 
identified as the First Member of Parliament, regretted that 
more attention had not been paid, either in the passing 
Session, or in the last, to the Petition from the merchants and 
planters of our Sugar Islands. 

Second Member : " Pshaw ! I know nothing of this Session, 
as it began in the hunting season ; but I remember very well 
what we thought of their petition last year. We determined to 
give them a hearing for form's sake, but not till we had settled 
how the business would go." 

Third Member : " Aye, aye. It signifies nothing what they 
says upon the matter. I am sure, (and I shall never alter my 
mind,) we were right. These Americans must be conquered, 
and must be taxed too. Why should we pay for they ? They 
have cost us a world of trouble, and never brought us anything 
but vexation." 

Bristol Gentleman : " But how do you reconcile it to equity 
to tax people who have no representatives among you ? " 

Third Member : " Representatives ? Why, hasn't we passed 
Resolutions that we does represent them ? And hasn't the 
Declaratory Act settled the right, and power, and all that ? 
What dost talk of equity for? Ha'nt we sent over the fleet 
and the army to settle everything? We represents 'em all, 
every one of 'em, be sure." 

First Member : "I protest, I cannot help fairly acknowledg- 
ing that I do not represent them ; for I was not elected, nor 
returned, by any of them. I cannot conceive how our friend 
here, that does not so much as know what part of the world 
they are in, should fancy himself their Representative." 

Third Member : Pooh ! I knows well enough in the main. 
We was fools for taking 'em from the French and Spanish, all 
along of that old fellow Pitt ; and I with all my heart wish they 
had them, and Hanover too, back again." 

Bristol Gentleman : " Have you ever delivered your senti- 
ments in the House, Sir, on this subject ? " 

Second Member: " No, damme, he never speaks further than 
aye or no. He's wiser than some folks in that. I spouted 
away once or twice j but it did not signify much, though my 
Lord North spoke to me very kindly upon it." 


Third Member: " Aye, aye ; you spout away finely ; but I 
believe I gets as much for my silence as you does for your 
speechifying. The main thing is to know which is the right 
side of the question, and that I'm never out in. If I was Lord 
North, as soon as I had told 'em my mind, I'd make old 
Perriwig pop the question directly; and then I'm sure and 
sartin we might go to dinner every day at four o'clock, and 
have the rest of the evenin<( to ourselves, instead of sitting to 
hear nonsense till midnight." 

The peculiarities of this West-country senator's colloquial 
style seem natural to those who remember that, only one 
generation back. Squire Western was the greatest Commoner 
in Somersetshire, and most certainly might have been member 
for his County, if he had cared to sit. 


See page 276 

The Church of England in Virginia 

Mr. Sanford Cobb, in his History of Religious Liberty ^ draws 
out a long and unbroken string of evidence bearing upon the 
favour, and veneration, accorded to the Church of England 
by Virginians of the first two generations. The earliest emi- 
grants brought with them the Reverend Robert Hunt, a 
learned divine, and exemjjlary man, who had been specially 
selected as their spiritual guide by Archbishop Bancroft himself. 
The Company voted for his support five hundred pounds, 
which was a very substantial sum of money in those days. 
The Virginia Code of 16 12 included a provision under which 
those who spoke, or acted, in disrespect of any minister were 
to be "openly whipt three times, and to ask public forgive- 
ness in the assembly of the congregation on three several 
Saboth daies." If any person refused to repair to the 
Minister for examination in his faith as a Churchman, he was 
whipped daily until he complied. In 1623, a fine of five 
hundred pounds of tobacco was enacted as a penalty for 


Speaking " disparagingly of any Minister without proof." 
During our Civil Wars, long after the cause of the Church was 
lost in England, Governor Berkeley, with the approval and 
sympathy of a large majority among the colonists, banished all 
Puritan Ministers from the confines of Virginia; and in 1649, 
when King Charles's head had already fallen, the colony con- 
tained twenty Church of England parishes in which the tithe 
was regularly and cheerfully paid, and the rector lived with his 
people in much " peace and love." After the Restoration, 
Statutes were passed at Williamsburg enacting that the whole 
Liturgy should be thoroughly read every Sunday ; that no Cate- 
chism should be used other than that appointed by the Canons ; 
and that no ministers " but such as were ordained by some 
Bishop in England " should be allowed in the colony. The 
children of marriages performed by clergymen of all other 
denominations were declared illegitimate ; baptism was enforced 
by law ; and Nonconformists were forbidden to teach, even in 
private, under pain of exile. 

See page 310 

Among the extraordinarily accurate political prophecies which, 
amidst all his wild writing, were occasionally thrown out by 
Dean Tucker, was a forecast of the effect that would be pro- 
duced on the question of American bishops by a separation 
between Great Britain and her colonies. The first of those 
bishops was appointed in 1787 ; and as far back as 1774 the 
Dean had written as follows about the grievance under which 
the Episcopalians in America then suffered. 

" The Church of England alone doth not enjoy a Toleration 
in that full Extent which is granted to the Members of every 
other Denomination. What then can be the cause of putting 
so injurious a Distinction between the Church of England, and 
other Churches, in this respect ? The Reason is plain. The 
Americans have taken it into their heads to believe that the 
Episcopate would operate as some further tie upon them, not 
to break loose from those Obligations which they owe to the 


Mother-Country ; and that it is to be used as an Engine, under 
the Masque of Religion, to rivet those chains which they 
imagine we are forging for them. Let therefore the Mother- 
Country herself resign up all Claim of Authority over them, 
as well Ecclesiastical as Civil ; let her declare North America 
to be independent of Great Britain in every respect whatever ; 
let her do this, I say, and then all their Fears will vanish away, 
and their Panics be at an end. And then a Bishop, who has 
no more Connections with England, either in Church or State, 
than he has with Germany, Sweden, or any other Country, will 
be no longer looked upon in America as a Monster, but a 
Man." — Dean Tucker's Fourth Tract; ITT^- 


Abercrombie, Colonel, i. 313 

Absentee tax, i. 133 

Acland, Captain, i. 241, 253 

Adams, C. F., ii. i6g n. 3, 249 n. 

Adams, John, on the repeal of the 
Stamp Act, i. 2 ; voyage to France, 
12; a representative American, 28; 
personaUty, 36-42, 78, 192, 193, ii- 17, 
107; moral courage, i. 91, 92; de- 
fends Captain Preston, 91, 92, 276 «. ; 
forensic ability, 102 ; on contempo- 
rary manners, 102 ; on the pre-Revo- 
lutionary situation, 179; "Sink or 
swim; hve or die," 1S6; on luxury, 
194; on Philadelphian hospitahty, 
197, 198; accredited to the Court 
of St. James, 220; nominates Wash- 
ington for command of the Conti- 
nental Army, 320; on Liberty Trees, 
331 «. ; relations with John Dickin- 
son, ii. 111-118; his share in Con- 
gressional business, 122 ; on Gordon's 
"History," 124, 126, 127; his labours 
for the new colonial constitutions, 
128, 130, 131 ; relations with Thomas 
Paine, 153-155; the "Atlas of Inde- 
pendence," 159; on Jefferson's Dec- 
laration, 164; his closing years, 169- 
171; projects a miUtary academy, 
200; on Washington's aides-de- 
camp, 202 ; visits Lord Howe on 
Staten Island with a view to peace, 
259-266; quoted, iii. 121, 139, 279 
n. 2, 285, 295 n. 2 ; efforts to secure 
consecration of American bishops, 
310, 314 

Adams, John Quincy, i. 68 

Adams, Samuel, i. 8, 51, 89, 90, 104, 
160, 182, 276, 297, ii. 17, 19, 152, 166, 
265 n. I 

Adams, Mrs., i. 326 

Albemarle, Lord, iii. 152, 153 

Allen, Ethan, i. 364, ii. 79 

American soldier, his character, ii. 208- 

"American Soldier's Hymn," i. 379 n. 

Amherst, Sir Jeffrey, i. 259, 260, iii. 202, 

AnnapoHs, Md., i. 233 

"Annual Register," i. 97, 383 , 

Aristocracy', British, fighting qualities 
of, i. 24, 25 

Army, British, character and prospects 
of officers, ii. 92-99 ; the private sol- 
dier, 100-102 

Arnold, Benedict, allusion to, i. 54 ; in- 
vades Canada, and wounded in as- 
sault on Quebec, 360, ii. 79, 81 ; at 
capture of Ticonderoga, i. 364 ; cov- 
ers the retreat from Montreal to St. 
John's, ii. 230; equips a fleet at 
Crown Point, 232-235 ; difficulties 
■with brother officers, 235, 236; de- 
lays Carleton's advance, 323 ; fights 
battle of Valcour Island, 324, iii. 49; 
joins Washington, 72; defends east- 
ern seaboard against Tryon, 72, 
73 ; EngUsh opinion of him, 180, 

Artillery, American, ii. 205 

Asbur>', Francis, iii. 309 

Austin, Major, ii. 345, 346 

Bailey, Rev. Jacob, iii. 299, 301 
Baltimore, Md., Congress removed 

from Philadelphia to, iii. 61 
Bancroft, Dr. Edward, i. 400 
Bancroft, George, i. 52, 53 «., 73, 181, 

191 «., 291 
Barclay, Mr., i. 256, 257 




Barnes, Mr., of Marlborough, Mass., i. 

Barr6, Colonel, i. 56, 94, 168, 171, 176, 
389, ii. 54, iii- 179 

Barrington, Lord, i. 114, 128, 290, 363, 
ii. 34-36 

Baskingridge, Charles Lee captured at, 
iii. 66 

Bate, Rev. Henry, iii. 167, 171 

Eathurst, Lord, i. 149 

Bazaine, Marshal, iii. 53 

Beattie, Dr. James, i. 256 n. 

Becket, Lieutenant, iii. 11, 12 

Bedfords, the, i. 10, 11, 17, 56, 102, 113, 
253, 257, 290 

Bentham, Jeremy, i. 161 

Bernard, Sir Francis, i. 16-18, 77 

Bishop question in America, iii. 283- 

"Blackwood's Magazine," i. 400 

Blockade of Boston, i. 180 

Bloomingdale, ii. 301 

Bolingbroke, Lord, i. 214 

Boodle's Club, i. 109, 191 n. 

Boston, Mass., men-of-war and troops 
sent to, i. 9-1 1 ; miUtary occupation 
of, 70-92; massacre, 89, 278; tea- 
ships at, 108 ; marked out for punish- 
ment, 163 ; Boston Port Act, 166, 
190; penal laws against, 166 ; harbour 
blockaded, 180; British garrison at, 
276-282 ; investment by the Ameri- 
cans, 292 ; sufferings of the town and 
garrison, 329-337; Loyalist refugees 
from, 373-380; evacuated by the 
British, 380-390; Washington in, ii., 

Bosville, William, iii. 204 n. 2 

Boswell, James, i. 249 «., iii. 224 

Boucher, Rev. Jonathan, iii. 300, 301 

Bowes, A. R. Stoney, i. 210 

Boyle, Colonel Gerald, ii. 205 n. 2 

Braintree, Mass., i, 279 

Bray, Dr. Thomas, iii. 280 

Brillat-Savarin, Anthelme, i. 65 

Bristol, Burke, elected member for, i. 
208, 209, 246 

Brooks's Club, i. 75, 151, 152, 381 

Brunswick, Duke of, 297, ii. 42, 43, 48 

Brush, Crean, i. 382, 387 

Buchan, Lord, i. 203 

Bunbury, Lady Sarah, ii. 315 n. 2, 346 
n. 3, iii. 43 n. 

Bunker's Hill, battle of, i. 301-317 ; re- 
ceipt of news of battle in England, ii. 


Burgoyne, General, i. 171, 172 «., 176, 
263, 295-299, 311, 316, 317, 332, 334, 
336, 337, 340, 368 »., ii. 89, 94, 117, 
332, 2>2>Z, 346 n. 3 

Burke, Edmund, his "Thoughts on 
the Causes of the Present Discon- 
tents," i. 4, ii. 10, ir ; allusions, i. 5, 
161, 167; on FrankUn's examination 
before Parliament, 1 1 «. ; estimate 
of white population in America, 25; 
on the study of law by colonists, 72 ; 
letters to Lord Rockingham, 75, 207, 
ii. 10 ; his political criticism, i. 93, 95 ; 
on American commerce, 96; on the 
torpidity of English pubHc opinion, 
120; on public responsibility, 121, 
122; his "Short Account of a Short 
Administration," 123; on the Op- 
position forces in the Commons, 
126; his industry and genius, 127; 
reproved by Dr. Markham, 128; 
Burke's reply, 128; divergence be- 
tween him and Lord Germaine, 129; 
the Duke of Richmond's opinion of, 
130; Burke's opinion of Lord John 
Cavendish, 130, 131 ; attitude in re- 
gard to the representative system, 
132, 133; protest against Irish absen- 
tee-landlord tax, 133; on American 
representation, 169; speech on re- 
peal of Tea-duty, 176; opposes short- 
ening of duration of Parliaments, 
217; attitude regarding restraint of 
New England commerce, 246, 247, 
249 ; on the British commissariat in 
Boston, 388 ; on George III.'s king- 
craft, ii. 15; on the ministerial case, 
17; on the proposal to employ Rus- 
sians, 35 ; on German mercenaries, 
43, 44, 54, iii. 9; appeal to Lord 
Rockingham, ii. 55, 56; his Concilia- 
tory Bill supported by Fox, 58 ; quo- 
tation from his speech, 148 n. 2; 
letter to Richard Champion, quoted, 



iii. 62, 63 ; his fears for English lib- 
erty, 154 ; quoted by Gladstone, 185 ; 
on the Cavendishes, 210; on the 
French Revolution, 223; letter to 
Dr. Robertson, 239; on the Board 
of Trade and Plantations, 245 ; his 
speeches and pamphlets, 249-251, 
261; on "The Dissidence of Dis- 
sent," 287 

Burnaby, Rev. Andrew, i. 54 n. 

Burnet, Bishop, iii. 247 

Burney, Fanny, iii. 255 

Burns, Robert, i. 223, 224 

Bute, Lord, i. 218, iii. 182-185, 217 

Byles, Dr., i. 189 

Cadwalader, Colonel, iii. 9 n., 98, 99 

Caermarthen, Lord, i. 169 

"Calm Address," John Wesley's, iii. 

Cambridge, Mass., i. 31, 266-268, 322 
Cambridge University (Eng.) opinion, 

ii. 13-15 

Camden, Lord, i. 56, 93, 232, ii. 18, 52, 
iii. 169 

Campbell, Lord, i. 149 n. 

Canada, under British rule, ii. 70-77; 
American invasion of, 77-86 

Cape Breton Island, i. 251 n., 284, 285, 

Carleton, Sir Guy, Governor of Can- 
ada, ii. 70; obtains Quebec Act, 74- 
77; repels American invasion, 77-86 
prepares to invade America, 86-89 
made Commander of the Bath, 89 
delay in his advance, 323 ; battle of 
Valcour Island, 324; withdraws to 
Canada, 331 ; Chatham's high opin- 
ion of him, iii, 206 

Carlisle, Lord, i. 12, 36, 99, 145, iii. 
142 «., 148 

Carlyle, Thomas, i. 37, 353 n. 2 

Caroline, Queen, i. 153 

Carteret, Lord, i. 146 

Cartwright, Major John, iii. 212, 214 

Catherine II., Empress of Russia, ii. 

Cavalry, Washington weak in, ii. 203- 

205 ; British, 318 
Cavendish, Lord Frederic, iii. 209, 210 

Cavendish, Lord George, ii. 59 
Cavendish, Lord John, i. 5, 130, 150, 

249, ii. 53 
Champion, Mr., i. 232 
Champlain, Lake, ii. 232, 324 
Chandler, Clark, i. 186 
Charlemont, Lord, i. 158 
Charles II. and New England, i. 

8 w. 
Charleston, S.C., i. 108, 163, 364 
Charlestown, Mass., i. 270, 289, 299, 

300, 330 
Chatham, Lord, i. 4, 5, 54, 60, 80, 133, 

135, 136, 157, 173, 174, iq6, 225-230, 

241, 252, 253, 255, 257, 339, ii. 18, 32, 

109, iii. 153, 180, 190, 205-207 
Chatterton's Hill, ii. 314 
Chauncey, Dr. Charles, iii. 282 
Churchill, Charles, i. 21, iii. 185 
Clare, Lord, i. 28 n. 
Clarke, Lieutenant, i. 302, 307, 316 
Clergy, Colonial, in the Revolution, iii. 

Clergy, Loyahst, i. 189, 190, 374-377 
Clinton, General George, ii. 193 n. i, 

241. 253, 302, 320, 335 n, I, iii. 96 
Clinton, General Sir Henry, 263, 310, 

363, ii. 92, 241, 267, 277-282, 293, 

303, iii. 15, 2>Z 
Cobb, Sandford H., iii. 267 n., 273 w., 

307 n., 318 
Coffin, General John, i. 319 n. 
Coke, Mr., Member of Parliament for 

Norfolk, i. 213 
Coke, Dr. Thomas, iii. 308, 309 
Colonial Churches, iii. 266-283, all 

disestablished, 306 
Commissariat, Continental, i. 328 
"Common Sense," Thomas Paine's, 

ii. 148-155. 
Concord, Mass., i. 272, 286 
Congress, American, i. 192-198, 320, ii. 

105-122, iii. 60, 61, 70, 144 
Consols, effect of the war on, ii. 55, iii. 

Conway, Field-Marshal, i. 56, 93, 94, 

III, 168, 171, ii. 18, iii. 203, 204 
Cooper, Dr., i. 95 
Cornbury, Lord, iii. 269, 271 
Cornwallis, Lady, iii. 64, 65 



Cornwallis, Lord, i. 364, ii. 92, 267, 277- 

282, 291 n. I, 307 n. I, iii. 6, 13-18, 

63, 129-137, 143 
County Members of Parliament, i. 212- 

Courier, Paul Louis, ii. 152 n. 
Cowper, William, i. 21, 32, 117, 392-394 
Cox, Daniel, iii. 40 
Cradock, Joseph, i. 135 n. 
Crawford, John, of Auchinanes, i. 145, 

Croker, J. W., iii. 167 
Cromwell, Oliver, i. 100 
Crown Point, American troops at, ii. 

219-237 ; occupied by Carleton, 329 ; 

evacuated, 331 
Cruger, Mr., M.P., i. 209 
Cumberland, Duke of, iii. 189, 203 
Curwen, Samuel,!. 21 ». i, 125 n., 330 n. 

2, 338 n. 2, ii. 106 n. i, iii. 201, 221, 

227-229, 231, 233-236 
Gushing, Thomas, i. 105 

Dartmouth, Lord, i. 14, 99, 104, 115- 
119, 159 «., 161, 203, 255-257, 296, 
381, 392-394. ii- 2, 7, 16, 23, 25, 26, 
91, iii. 23, 224 

Dartmouth College, i. 118, 119 

Davis's (John) ''Travels in America," 
i. 13 «. 

Dawson, Henry B., ii. 308, 343 «. 

Deane, Silas, ii. 17, 174 

Dechow, Major Von, iii. 89, 103, 105, 

Declaration of Independence.ii. 155-171 

Declaration of Rights, i. 195 

Dedham, Mass., i. 287 

De Fonblanque, E. B., i. 335 »., 340 n. i 

De Lancey, Floyd, ii. 219 «. 

Delaware River, Washington retreats 
over, iii. 20, 21 ; crossed in the attack 
on Trenton, 99-101 

Derby, Captain, ii. 2 

De Tocqueville, iii. 307 

Devonshire, Duke of, i. 125 

Dickinson, John, author of the "Farm- 
er's Letters," i. 7 ; on England's po- 
sition, 235 ; drafts petition to the 
King, ii. 19-22 ; opposes John Adams 
on question of independence, 112- 

116, 158, 159; his influence in the 

Pennsylvanian Assembly, 135-137 
Disestablishment of all Colonial 

Churches, iii. 306 
Donop, Colonel Von, ii. 271, 303, iii. 85- 

123, 130 
Dorchester Heights, Mass., i. 299, 3CX3, 

Dowdeswell, William, i. 5 
Dumas, General Mathieu, i. 26, 27, ii. 

182 n. 
Dundas, Henry, i. 248-250 
Dunmore, Lord, i. 346, ii. 191, 267 
Duportail, Chevalier, ii. 215 n. 
Duquesne, Fort, i. 54 
Dutch Government refuses to lend 

troops to the King, ii. 41 

East India Company, i. 106, 107 
Eden, William (Lord Auckland), ii. 4 
Effingham, Lord, i. 388, iii. 207, 208 
Eggleston, Rev. Edward, ii. 213 «., iii. 

273 «., 293 «., 294 n. 
Electioneering customs, i. 203-205, 209, 

Eliot, Mr., i. 212, 215 
Elliot, Sir Gilbert, i. 242 
Ellis, Welbore, i. 139, 240 
Elton, James, i. 172 n. 
Emerson, R. W., quoted, i. 39 
Emerson, Rev. William, i. 324, 326, 327 
Eton College, i. 32-34* 39i. 392 
Evelyn, John, i. 8 n. 
Ewing, General, iii. 98 

Fairfield, Conn., burned by Tryon, 

ii. 240, iii. 300 
Falconer, Thomas, iii, 209, 210 
Falmouth, Lord, i. 201 
Falmouth, Mass. (now Maine), i. 344 
Faneuil Hall, Boston, i. 335 
Famsworth, Amos, ii. 195 and n. 1, 

217, 351-353 
Fifth Fusiliers, i. 313, ii. 303, iii. 141 
Fifty-second Foot, i. 306, 316 
Fisheries Bill, American, i. 243 
Fishermen, American, i. 247, 338 
Fiske, John, iii. 49 
Fitzpatrick, Richard, i. 143, 145, ii. 58, 

59, 321 n., 332 «. 2, 333 



Flag, American, first hoisted, i. 358 

Flogging in the army, i. 87 and n,, 334, 
iii. 197, 198 

Foote, Samuel, i. 201 n. 

Ford, Captain, ii. 346 

Fort Lee, iii. i, 12, 17 

Fort Washington, iii. 1-13 

Forty-second Highlanders, ii. 277, 301, 
iii. 6 

Forty-seventh Foot, i. 306 

Forty-third Foot, i. 306 

Fothergill, Dr., i, 256, 258 

Fox, Charles James, life at Eton, i. 33, 
391 ; classical learning, ^^^ ; college 
life and after, 34, 35 ; allusions to, 
36, 136; pohtical career and char- 
acter, 137-139; 142-145, 151-154- 
174-178, 205-207, 217, 218, 229-233, 
ii. lo; personal character, 137, 138, 
140-154, 174, 175, 199, 205, 206, 394- 
399, ii. 57; on Parliamentary ora- 
tory, i. 163 «. ; hostility to France 
230, 231; opposes coercion of the 
Colonies, 236-240, 242, 243, 247, 248 ; 
letter to Burke, 267 ; letters to his 
mother, 392, 393 ; personal influence, 
ii. 57; speech in October 1775, 57; 
persuades Lord Ossory and Richard 
Fitzpatrick to support Burke's Con- 
cihatory Bill, 58; on Lord North's 
Prohibitory Bill, 60, 61 ; on Lord 
CornwalUs, iii. 15 ». ; relations with 
Gibbon, 241-246; on newspapers 
and pamphlets, 252; appreciation of 
Dr. Johnson, 255, 256 

Fox, George, i. 70 

Fox, Stephen, i. 140, 145, 147, 148 

Francis, Sir Philip, i. 63, 134, 170 

Franklin, Benjamin, joy at repeal of the 
Stamp Act, i. 2 ; publishes, in Lon- 
don, Dickinson's " Farmer's Letters," 
7 ; examined before Parhament, 10, 
11; voyage to England in 1762, 12; 
complains of EngUsh ignorance of 
America, 13, 14; on Colonial Gov- 
ernors, 16; a persona grata in soci- 
ety, 28, 29; personal character, 42- 
51 ; on George III., 57, 58 ; contrasts 
Scotland and Ireland with New Eng- 
land, 63; on early marriages, 66; 

on American manufactures, 96; on 
smugghng, 98; on trend of EngUsh 
opinion, 105, 106; on the Tea-duty, 
108 ; before the Privy Council on the 
letters of OUver and Hutchinson, 
155-163 ; on exercise of the right of 
petition, 181 ; friendship with WilUam 
Strahan, 206; on Parliament, 211; 
relations with Lord Chatham, 228 «., 
255 ; relations with Lord Howe, 255 ; 
attempts unofficial negotiations, 256, 
257; sails for Philadelphia, 254, 258; 
on the burning of Charleston, 346, 
347 ; attends Congressional Commit- 
tee at Cambridge, 350; on American 
armament, 353 ; on time and expense 
necessary to extinguish rebellion, 
359, 360; signing of the treaty with 
France, 399; distrust of Lee and 
Deane, ii. 17; duplicity sometimes 
practised by, 109 ; a Member of Con- 
gress, 121, 122; opposes the Penn 
interest, 135 ; relations with Thomas 
Paine, 147; sent to Paris, 157; one 
of the deputation to Lord Howe on 
Staten Island, 259-266 ; his eflforts to 
secure American bishops, iii. 310-312 

Fraser, General, ii. 85 

Frederic the Great, i. 211, 225, 363, 388, 
ii. 36, 174, 283, iii. 118, 150, 157, 158 

French nobles and American Society, 
i. 25-32, 68, 69 

French opinion, iii. 159-162 

Freneau, PhiUp, i. 103 n. 

Frothingham, Mr., i. 318 «., 351 «., 
373 n. 

Gage, General, i. 88, 165, 180, 182, 184, 
185, 234, 260, 264-267, 271, 286, 294- 
297, 314 n., 319, 334, 336, 337-338, ii. 
2, 3, 116, 256, 293 

Galloway, Joseph, ii. 343, iii. 22 n. i 

Garden, Alexander, i. 59, 83 

Gas pee (schooner), i. 103 

Gates, General, i. 54, ii. 123, 221, 222, 
225, 230, 232, 329, iii. 57, 66, 98 n. 

Gemmingen, Freiherr Von, iii. 115 

General election of 1774, i. 199-218 

" Gentleman's Magazine, The," i. 59 »., 
294 n.y ii. 291 n. i 



George III., anger with America, i. 3, 4 ; 
replaces Rockingham by Chatham, 
4; personal government of, 55, 56, 
III, 119, 120, 389, 390; original de- 
votion of America to, 57, 58; the 
King's friends, 94, ii. 9 ; tampers with 
private letters, i. 158; influenced by 
Gage against Massachusetts, 165 
his view of the Opposition, 173, 174 
his statue in New York, 193, ii. 168 
conduct at general election of 1774, 
i. 200-203, 211 ; prophecy concerning 
dissolution, 209; the King's speech, 
2i8; relations with Wilkes, 219, 220; 
relations with Chatham, 225, 226; 
petitioned by the city of London, 246 ; 
esteem for Lord Dartmouth, 255, 256, 
ii. 26; chooses the generals, i. 260- 
263 ; his dealings with General Gage, 
265, 266, 336; considers American 
strength magnified, 328; removes 
Admiral Graves, 340; advocates 
"distressing America," 344; Wash- 
ington's views of his Majesty's ten- 
derness, 359; his political capacity 
and opinions, ii. 11-13; enthusiasm 
for the war, 15; defines his policy 
and prepares for the struggle, 23 ; 
deprives Duke of Grafton of Privy 
Seal, 25 ; dismisses Lord Rochford 
with a pension, 27; employs Lord 
Weymouth, 27, and Lord George 
Germaine, 28 ; displays vigour in war 
preparations, 34, 69, 103, 104; appre- 
ciation of Sir Guy Carleton, 89; 
denounced in the Declaration of 
Independence, 162, 163; his statue 
pulled down, 168; his personal 
friends, 316; supports Carleton, 332; 
personal attacks on, in the news- 
papers, iii. 171-177 ; accused of being 
influenced by Lord Bute, 183-185; 
his kindness to Dr. Johnson, 256; 
prayers for him prohibited in Amer- 
ica, 299 

Germaine, Lord George, i. 56, 129, i66, 
296, ii. 28, 30, 89, 103, 318, 332 

German immigrants in Pennsylvania, 
ii. 137, iii. 119 «. I 

German mercenaries, ii. 37-50 

Gibbon, Edward, i. 34, 124, 152, 171 »., 

212, 214, 236, ii. 30 »., 35, iii. 242- 

246, 257, 264 
Glover, Colonel John, iii. 74 
Gordon, Rev. William, historian, ii. 

123-126, 226, 350, 351 
Governors, Colonial, i. 14-16 
Gower, Lord, i. 93, 113 
Grafton, Duke of, i. 5, 10, 34, 92-94, 

III, ii. 13, 23-25, 51 
Granby, Lord, i. 93, 111-113, 131, 

Grant, General, ii. 277, 279-282, iii. 85, 

Grant of Laggan, Mrs., i. 82 «., 377 «., 

ii. 220 n. I, iii. 232 
Graves, Admiral Samuel, i. 270, 338 

n. 2, 340, 371 
Graves, Thomas, i. 340 n. 2 
Gray, Thomas, iii. 247 
Graydon, Captain, iii. 48 n. i 
Greene, John Richard, ii. 163, iii. 

223 n. 
Greene, General Nathanael, i. 52, 59, 

292, 317, 323, 355. 386, ii. 183 «., 202, 

244 n., 275, 291, 294, 320, Sib, iii. 3-5, 

17, 27, 98, loi, 104, no 
Grenville, George, i. 2, 3, 74, 75, 94, 199, 

Grenville, Lord, iii. 223 and n. 
Gunning, Sir Robert, ii. 35, 36 

Haerlem (Holland), ii. 305 

Haerlem Heights, N.Y., battle of, ii. 

296, 300-395 
Plalifax, Lord, i. 115 
HaUfax, N.S., i. 383, ii. 238 
Hallowell, Benjamin, i. 186, 383 
Hamilton, Alexander, i. 51, iii. 75, 76, 

81, 105, 137 
Hancock, John, i. 73, 77, 90, loi, 272, 

276, 277, 297, 375, 384, ii. 272, 29s, 

iii. 125, 132 n. 2 
Hancock, Thomas, i. loi 
Hanway, Jonas, i. 165 n. 
Harcourt, Colonel William, ii. 42, 315- 

317, iii. 67-79 
Harcourt, Lord, ii. 316 
Hardwicke, Lord, i. 34 
Harley, Alderman, iii. 196 



Harris, Captain (Lord) George (5 th 
Foot), 300 and n., 313, 330 n., ii. 303, 
iii. 141 

Hartley, Colonel, ii. 329 

Harvard College (now University), i. 
301, ii. 199, 200, iii. 277 

Haslet, Colonel, ii. 282 n., 314 n. i, 
iii. 135 

Haverstraw Bay, ii. 252 

Hawke, Admiral Sir Edward, i. 93, 

Heath, General, i. 288, 293, 367, 370, 
ii. 287, 2>2>1, 345, "i- So, 51 

Heister, General Von, ii. 271, 277-282, 
iii. 119, 123 

"Hell, Hull, and HaHfax," i. 383 

Henry, Patrick, i. 192, 222, ii. 119, 120, 
130, iii. 272 «., 275 

Hesse, Landgrave of, ii. 45-48, iii. 123 

Hessians, the, ii. 31-50; reach Amer- 
ica, 92 ; in action at Long Island, 271, 
272, 277-282 ; at Haerlem Heights, 
298; at White Plains, 313; on Man- 
hattan Island, 336; ravage West- 
chester, 342 ; victorious at Fort 
Washington, iii. 6-9 ; enter Trenton, 
21; plunder New Jersey, 27-40; 
captured at Trenton, 86-124 

Highlanders, captured by American 
privateers, i. 387, ii. 92 ; enlisted for 
the war, ii. 32-34; land at Staten 
Island, 238; on Long Island, 268, 
271, 277, 281 ; at Haerlem Heights, 
301 ; at Fort Washington, iii. 6 

Hillsborough, Lord, i. 8, 14, 93 

Hitchcock, Colonel Daniel, iii. 127, 135, 
150 n. 2 

Holland, Henry Fox (ist Lord), i. 32, 
2>?i, 36, 98, 99, 139-141, 147, 218, 393 

Holland, Henry Richard Vassal Fox 
(3d Lord), i. 144 

Holland, Lady (mother of C. J. Fox), 
i. 146, 147, 392, 393 

Holland, Lady Mary (mother of 3d 
Lord Holland), i. 148 

Hollis, Thomas, i. 85 

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, i. 156 n. 

Honeyman, John, iii. 93, 94 

Hopkins, Stephen, i. 104 

Hotham, Commodore, ii. 297 

"Hounds, the," i. 146, 394, 395 

How, David, i. 303, 310 «., 324 «., 327, 
358 n., 373 n., 385 «., 387 «•, ii- 299 n., 
iii. 71 n., 113 n., 128 n. 

Howe, George Augustus, Lord, i. 80 

Howe, John, iii. 230, 231 

Howe, Admiral Richard (Earl), endeav- 
ours to avert war, i. 255 ; his splen- 
did career, ii. 89 ; commands British 
naval force, 91, 92 ; sails for America, 
251; his efforts for peace, 253-266; 
at Long Island, 281 ; offers free par- 
don to Colonials, iii. 27; relations 
with John Cartwright, 213, 214 

Howe, General Sir William, member 
for Nottingham, i. 262 ; attitude on 
the American question, 262; at 
Bunker's Hill, 304-317; succeeds 
Gage, 336; prepares to abandon 
Boston, 361-364; at Dorchester 
Heights, 368, 369 ; evacuates Boston, 
371,372; threatens to destroy Boston, 
380; embarks the LoyaUsts, 381-384 ; 
his army described, ii. 90-104; on 
Staten Island, 237-250; operations 
on Long Island, 267-292 ; at Haer- 
lem Heights, 292-305; at White 
Plains, 306-316 ; at Westchester Pen- 
insula, 336, 337; lax in enforcing 
discipline, 346-349, iii. 39; captures 
Fort Washington, iii. 1-13 ; stops 
Cornwallis's pursuit, 19; offers free 
pardon to the Colonials, 27 ; goes into 
winter quarters, 63 ; made K. C. B., 
64; defends his strategy in Parlia- 
ment, 84, %$ ; his army short of sup- 
pHes after Trenton and Princeton, 

"Hudibras," i. 70 

Hume, David, i. 14 »., "9, 265, iii. 241, 

Hunt, Leigh, iii. 172 

Huntingdon, Lady, i. 116, 117 

Hutchinson, Governor, i. 157, 160, 161, 
236, 254 

Hyde, Lord, i. 255 

"Hymn, American Soldier's," i. 379 w. 

Indians, Canadian, British policy to- 
ward, ii. 73, 74 



Inglis, Rev. Dr., iii. 298, 299, 301 
Inoculation practised by American 

army surgeons, ii. 223-225 
Ireland, poor recruiting results in, ii. 34 
Irnham, Lord, ii, 53, 54 

Jacobites, ii. 12, iii. 155, 215 
Jamaica Assembly's petition, i. 245 
Jay, John, ii. 23 n., 109, 178, 294 
Jefiferson, Thomas, i. 52; ii. 109, 119, 

121, 156, 161, 164-166, 170, 171 
Johnson, Mr., of Connecticut, i. 97 
Johnson, Samuel, 152, 200, 206, 220, 

223, ii. Zi, iii. 167, 183 n.. 213 n., 225, 

242 n., 256-259, 263, 264 
Johnstone, Ex-Governor, i. 171, 237 
Jones, Judge Thomas, ii. 240, 241 «., 

343 «M 347, 348, iii. 31, 140, 277 
"Junius," i. 9, 34, 57, 63, 93 

Kat.b, Baron de, ii. 194 

Kalm, Professor Peter, iii. io6 n. 

Kearsley, Dr., ii. 143 

Keppel, Vice-Admiral Augustus, iii. 

King's Friends, the, i. 3, 4, 94, 241-243 
Knowlton, Captain Thomas, ii. 301, 302 
Knox, Colonel (later General), i. 364, 

ii. 274, iii. 73, 100, loi, 105, 108-110, 

III, 127, 132 n. I, 134 
Knyphausen, General, ii. 337, iii. 6 
Kosciusko, Thaddeus, ii. 329 

Laf.wette, Marquis dc, i. 26, 27, 68, 

ii. 170, 183, 273 n., iii. 93 n. 3 
Lampoons, Loyalist, i. 377-379 
Lawrence, Lord, ii. 283 and n. 2 
Lecky, W. E. H., i. 4, loi n. i, ii. 50, 

Lee, Arthur, ii. 17, 108, iii. 221 
Lee, General Charles, allusions to, i. 
54, 79, 235, 326; on the American 
military situation, 234; his unde- 
served reputation, 323 ; advocates the 
emplo>'Tnent of pikemen, 353 ; jeal- 
ousy of Washington, 355 ; on Con- 
gress, ii. 108, 250 n. 2 ; relations with 
John Adams, 115, 116; on Paine's 
"Common Sense," 152; letter to 
Washington quoted, 172, 173; at 

Charleston, 210; advocates evacua- 
tion of New York, 294 ; letters to 
Washington and Franklin quoted, 
320; fails to support Washington, 
iii. 41-56 ; captured at Baskingridge, 
66-70, 125 

Lee, Harry, i. 59, iii. 44 

Lee, Richard Henry, i. 192, 375, ii. 108, 
120, 156 

Leitch, Major, ii. 301, 302 

Leslie, Colonel, i. 282 

Lexington, battle of, i. 286-290; ac- 
count of, addressed to inhabitants of 
Great Britain by Colonists, ii. i, 2 

Liberty Tree, i. 331 

Ligne, Prince de, iii. 16 

Ligonicr, Lord, i. 113 n. 

Liverymen's address to the King, iii. 

Livingston, Colonel Robert, i. 302 n., ii. 
156, 253 

Livingston, William, ii. 196 and n. 2, 
iii. 282 n. 

Lloyd, Major-General, i. 353 n. 2 

London, city of, p)ctition to George III. 
i. 246; political opinion in, ii. 12, 13, 
iii. 190-201 

Long Island, described, ii. 242, 243; 
operations on, 267-292 

Loughborough, Lord, i. 162 

Louisburg, siege of, i. 251, 285 

Loyal addresses, ii. 10-19 

Loyalists, American, i. 186-190, 285, 
373-383. iii. 225-236 

Lynedoch, Lord, i. 261 

Lyttleton, Lord, ii. 63, 64, iii. 247 

Macartney, Sir George, i. 125, 199 

Macaulay, Catharine, i. 14, iii. 247-249 

Macaulay, Lord, i. 4, ii. 75 n., 291 n. 
I, iii. 188 n., 247 n. 

Macdougal, General, iii. 28 «. 

Mackrabie, Alexander, i. 63, 65 »., 67, 
74, 84, 85, iii. 284 

Madison, James, ii. 109, iii. 305 

Magaw, Colonel, iii. 3-8 

Mahan, Captain A. T., quoted, i. 251 
«•, 339 «. 

Malmesbury, C. J. Fox elected mem- 
ber of Parliament for, i. 205 



Malmesbury, Lord, i. 34 

Malton, i. 207, 208 

Manchester, Duke of, i. 227, ii. 63 

Manchester address to the King, ii. 12 

Mandeville, Bernard de, i. 155 

Manly, Captain, i. 342, 343, 357 

Mansfield (William Murray), Earl of, 

ii. 66-68, iii. 184 and n. 2, 211 
Manufactures, American, i. 96 
Marblehead, Mass., i. 180, 182 
Markhara, Archbishop, i. 128, iii. 197 n. 
Markham, Colonel Enoch, ii. 97, iii. 

7, n. 2, 9, 21, 28, 140 n. 2, 315, 316 
Marshall's "Life of Washington," i. 

299 n. 
Marshfield, Mass., i. 282 
Maryland, religious parties in, iii. 268, 

Mason, William, i. 131 n., 223, 359, ii. 

12, iii. 208, 246 
Massachusetts, petition from the As- 
sembly, i. 7, 8; new Constitution of, 

ii. 128 
Mathew, General, iii. 6 
Mawhood, Colonel, iii. 134-137 
Mayhew, Jonathan, iii. 288, 289 
Melville, Lord, i. 261 
Mercer, General, ii. 104, 106, 134, 135, 

139 n. 2 
Meredith, Sir William, i. 94 
Methodists, the American, iii. 307-309 
Mifflin, General, ii. 207, 289, iii. 72, 

Militia, American, i. 251 «., 281, ii. 182- 

Minden, battle of, i. 316 n. 
Monroe, James, iii. 77, 107 
Montagu, Admiral, i. 102, 103 n., 104, 

Montgomery, General Richard, i. 360, 

ii. 78, 80-82, 155, iii- 178-180 
Montreal, occupied by Americans, ii. 

78; evacuated by Benedict Arnold, 

Moore, Sir John, i. 261 
Morellet, Abb6, iii. 160 
Morris, Robert, ii. 331, iii. 34, 61, 79, 

125, 126 
Morristown, N. J., iii. 138 
Moultrie, Colonel, iii. 46 

Mowatt, Captain, i. 344 
Murray, Mrs., ii. 299 
Muskets, defects of flint-lock, ii. 285 
and n. 

"Nancy," the, i. 357 

Nantasket roads, i. 383, 386 

Nantucket, Mass., i. 245, 246 

National opinion on the war, iii. 163- 
181, 202-219 

Naval operations: American, i. 341- 
343, 357, 386, 387 ; British, i. 337-347 

Navy, impressment for the, iii. 192- 

New Brunswick, N. J., Washington's 
retreat to, iii. 19; headquarters of 
Major-General Grant, 85 

Newcome, Dr., i. 35 

New Jersey, plundered by Hessians, 
iii. 27-40 

Newport, R. I., iii. 20 

Newspapers, English, iii. 163-181 

Newton, John, i. 116, 117, 392-394 

New York City, attitude toward Tea- 
duty, i. 108; honours Lord Dart- 
mouth's memory, 119; advocates 
resistance, 163; welcomes Massa- 
chusetts delegates to Philadelphia 
Congress, 193; evacuation of, by 
Washington, ii. 293-300; great fire 
in, 309, 310; plundered by Royalist 
troops, 348, 349 ; Howe's winter quar- 
ters, iii. 63 

New York Colony, withdraws from 
anti-British trade agreement, i. 94 

New York State, new Constitution of, 
ii. 130 ; loyalism in, 244-247, 308 

Nonjurors, iii. 155 

Nook's Hill, i. 371, 372 

Norfolk, Va., i. 345 

North, Lord, moves repeal of Ameri- 
can duties except that on tea, i. 92 ; 
defends the Tea-duty, 94; explains 
the King's attitude, 108; attitude 
toward the Colonies, 113; Macart- 
ney on his success, 125; relations 
with Fox, 138 ; Fox bets against con- 
tinuance of his administration, 151; 
his policy criticised, 161 ; at Frank- 
lin's examination before the Privy 



Council, 162 ; delivers Royal mes- 
sage to the House on affairs in Bos- 
ton, 165; use of the Secret Service 
Fund, 201 ; robbed on highway, 207 ; 
approves actions of ParUament, 219; 
presents letters from Colonial Gov- 
ernors to the House, 221 ; advocates 
suppression of rebellion, 235 ; pro- 
poses to exempt Colonies from im- 
perial taxation under certain cir- 
cumstances, 238; afraid to attempt 
conciliation, 243; Burgoyne's corre- 
spondence with, 296; John Wesley's 
letter to, ii. 5, 6; calls for Loyal 
Addresses, 11-14; his distress at the 
war, 15; Grafton remonstrates with 
him, 24 ; his Prohibitory Bill, 59-63 ; 
his conduct of the war criticised by the 
London press, iii. 177, 178; bet on 
the manner of his death, 222; Gib- 
bon's declaration about him, 245 ; 
his literary relations with Dr. John- 
son as a pamphleteer, 256 

North, Roger, iii. 169 

North Chapel, Boston, i. 331 

Norwalk, Conn., burned by Trj'on, 
ii. 240 

Odell, Rev. Jonathan, ii. 178, iii. 

OflScers, British, character of, i. 79- 


Oldfield, Major Thomas, i. 313 n. 

Oliver, Chief Justice, iii. 226 

Oliver, Lieutenant-Governor, i. 157, 
160, 161, 268 

Omond's "Lord Advocates of Scot- 
land," i. 249 «. 

Ossory, Lord, 145, 204, ii. 58 

Oxford University opinion, ii. 13 

Paine, Thomas, i. 165 n., ii. no, 

147-155; his "Common Sense," 

148-155; "The Crisis," 155, iii. 

81, 82 

Pamphleteers, the, iii. 249-258 

"Paper of Hints for Conversation, 

i. 256 
Parker, Sir Peter, i. 364 ; ii. 267 
Parkman, Francis, quoted, i. 81, 251 n. 

Parliament, proceedings in, ii. 50-68 
Paterson, Colonel (Colonial), ii. 222 
Paterson, Colonel (Royahst), ii. 255 
" Peggy Stewart," burning of the, i. 233 
Pellew, Edward (Lord Exmouth), ii. 

Pemberton, James, iii. 273 
Penn family, ii. 20, 21, in, 135 
Penn, Richard, ii. 20, 21 
Pennsylvania, the Revolution in, ii. 

Percy, Lord, i. 288, 369, ii. 277, 310, iii. 

5, 6, 214 
Personal government of George IH., 

i- 55. 56, III, ii9» 120, 218, ii. 9, 10, 

iii. 151 
Peters, Rev. Samuel, i. 27S, 279, 375 
Phelps, E. J., i. 372 n. 
Philadelphia, Pa., celebrates the repeal 

of the Stamp Act, i ; progress of the 

city, 47 ; reception of tea-ship in, 108 ; 

attitude toward Revolution, 163, ii. 

133. 134; iii- 59-63; first Congress 

at, i. 182, 194-198; religious equal- 
ity in, iii, 268 
Phillips, General, ii. 86, 97 «., 330 
Phipps, Constantine (I.,ord Mulgrave), 

i. 76 
Pitcairn, Major, i. 313 
Pitt, Lord, iii. 206, 207 
Pitt, William, i. 228, 231, iii. 223 and n. 
Political discontent in England, ii, 

Pomeroy, Seth, i. 281, 306, 315 
Pontoon corps, Washington's, iii. 73, 74 
Porter, General Horace, ii. 186 ». i 
Portland, Duke of, i. 125 
Portsmouth, N.H., i. 222, 270 
Post Office, practice of opening letters 

in, i. 158, 159 
Pownall, Thomas, i. 76 and «., 167, 

172, 238 
Prescott, Colonel, i. 301-314 
Press-gang proceedings, iii. 192-196 
Preston, Captain, i. 91, 168, 276 
Price, Dr., iii. 253 
Price, Uvedale, i. 145 
Priestley, Dr., i. 161 
Princeton, N.J., Washington's victory 

at, iii. 124-147 



Princeton College, Massachusetts del- 
egates to Philadelphia Congress at, 
i. 193; occupied by Lord Howe, iii. 


Prohibitory Bill, Lord North's, ii. 59-68 

Provincial Governments, organisation 
of, ii. 127-132 

Putnam, General Israel, i. 52, 80, 191, 
235, 269, 291, 301, 305, 307, 312, 315, 
322, 323, 326, 355, 358, 369, 384, ii- 
198, 230, 275, f 77, 278, iii. 59 

Putnam, James, i. 66 

Putnam, Colonel Rufus, ii. 213, 214, 

Quakers, American, ii. in, 134, 135, 

139-142, iii. 59, 139 
Quebec, Montgomery's assault on, i. 

360, ii. 78 
Quebec Act, ii. 74-77 
Queensberry, Duke of, i. 36 
Qui transtulit sustinet, i. 326 
Quincy, Josiah, i. 91. 

Rall, Colonel, iii. 9, 86-113 

Ranelagh, i. 191 

Rawdon, Lord, i. 313, 335, 336 

Rawlins, William, i. 100 «. i 

Reed, Colonel, ii. 185, 280, 302, 344, 

iii. 54 
Reed, Joseph, ii. 254 n. i 
Refugee Loyalists, iii. 225-236 
Revenue laws, i. 97-101 
Rhode Island, subdued by Howe, iii. 20 
Richmond, Duke of, i. 122, 125, 126, 

130, 132, 150, 152, ii. 18, 50, 63-65, iii. 

162, 163, 171 
Riding the rail, i. 184 n. 
Riedesel, General, i. 12, ii. 42, 86, 331 
Rigby, Richard, i. 22, 23, 123, 128, 149, 

150 n., 159, 200, 241, 250, 254 
Robertson, Dr. William, iii. 239-241 
Robinson, John, i. 201, 202, 219, 339 
Rochford, Lord, i. 93, 150 n., 296, ii. 25, 

Rockingham, Lord, i. 2, 4, 5, 121, 123, 

125, 126, 132, 136, 149, 173, 207, 221, 

227, 232, ii. 10, 14, 55-57 
Rodney, Admiral, i. 339 «• 
Rodney, Captain Thomas, iii. 139 

Roxbury, Mass., i. 323 
Royall, Isaac, i. 181 
Russell, John Earl, i. 144 
Rutledge, Edward, ii. 259, 266 
Rye, N.Y., ii. 245 

Sabine, Lorenzo, i. 73 n. 2, 191 »., 279 

n., 319 n., 376 «., 380 n., ii. 307 n. 2 
St. Vincent, Lord (John Jervis), i. 231 
Salaries in America, i. 64 
Salem, Mass., i. 166, 180, 182, 184, 271, 

282, 283 
Saltonstall, Colonel, i. 187 
Sandwich, Lord, i. 34, 51, 102, 103 «., 

104, 149, 150 n., 250, 256, 257, 339, 

388, ii. II, 13, 64, 65, 91, iii. 15, 192 
Sandy Hook, Howe's rendezvous, ii. 

Savile, Sir George, i. 130, 132, 134, 

150, 152, 167 
Sawbridge, Alderman John, i. 172, ii. 

103, iii. 191, 196 
Saxe, Marshal, ii. 210 
Sayre, Rev. John, iii. 300 
Schiller, J. F. C. Von, iii. 117 
Schuyler, General Philip, ii. 126, 219- 

221, iii. 56, 72 
Scotch, unpopularity of, iii. 181-189 
Scotch-Irish settlers, ii. 138, 139, iii. 

Seabury, Bishop, ii. 339, 340, iii. 313 
Seeker, Archbishop, iii. 279, 281, 283, 

Secret Service Fund, i. 201 
Segur, Comte de, i. 26-28, 31, 68, 69 

and n., iii. 268 
Selwyn, George, i. 12, 36, 99, 149, 158, 

205 w., 212, 214, 215, ii. 31, 103, iii. 

148, 149, 22,3 
Serle, Ambrose, iii. 24, 26, 30, 60 n., 

69 n. 2, 296 n. I 
Sewall, Jonathan, i. 38, 39, 41, 186 
Seymour, Commodore, iii. 90 
Sharp, Granville, iii. 210—212, 312, 314 
Sharpless, Isaac, ii. 140 ». 2 
Shebbeare, John, iii. 255 
SheflBield, Lord, i. 98 
Shelburne, Lord, i. 10, 11, 33, 94, 173 »., 

ii. 18, 51, 52 
Sherman, Roger, ii. 156 



Shippen, Dr. William, iii. 71 n., 79 n. 

I, 98, 99 
Sixteenth Light Dragoons, iii. 67 
Slave trade, condemned by Congress, 

i- 195 

Sloane, Sir Hans, i. 155 

Smith, Adam, i. 64 n. 2, iii. 238, 242 
n. I 

Smith, Sir Harry, iii. 38 

Smith, Captain John, his "Historie of 
Virginia" quoted, i. 243, 244 

Smith, Colonel, i. 286 

Smith, Dr. WilUam, ii. 154, 155 

Smollett, Tobias, i. 19, 20 

Smuggling, prevalence of, i. 98-100 

Society for the Propagation of the Gos- 
pel, iii. 280-283 

Sons of Liberty, i, 9, 270, 331 

South Church, Boston, i. 332 

"Spectator," quoted, i. 55, 56 

Springfield, Mass., i. 185 

Stamp Act, effect of its repeal, i. 1-6 

Stanhope, Lord, i. 251 n., ii. 22, 23 

Stanley, Captain, i. 329 

Stanley, Hans, i. 158 

Stark, Colonel, i. 310 n., iii. 107, 123, 

Staten Island, General Howe on, ii. 
237-251, 268-270 

Statesmen, personal habits of, in eigh- 
teenth century, i. 18 

Statue of George III. at New York, i. 
193, ii. 168 

Stedman, Mr., iii. 2ji 

Stillman, William, iii. 25 n. i 

StirHng, Lord, his family and charac- 
ter, ii. 176-179; captured in action 
on Long Island. 278-2S2 ; e.xchanged, 
309; covers Washington's passage 
of the Delaware, iii. 20, 21 ; at Tren- 
ton, 104, 105 ; entertains captured 
Hessian oflBcers, 119; disabled by 
rheumatism from taking part in the 
Princeton campaign, 129 

Strahan, WilUam, i. 205, 206 

Stringer, Rev. William, i. 178 

Stryker, WilUam S., iii. 17 »., 74 ». i, 
78 n., 133 ». 

Suffolk, Lord, i. 203, 228, 252, ii. 52, 

SuUivan, General John, military ability, 
i. 324; invades Canada, ii. 83, 84; 
defeated at Three Rivers, 85 ; retreats 
to Crown Point, 85; Washington's 
criticism on, 176; sickness in his 
camp, 222; on malpractices of con- 
tractors, 227 ; failure as a negotiator, 
258, 259 ; in brief command on Long 
Island, 27s ; made prisoner, 278, 
279; exchanged, 309 ; under Charles 
Lee, iii. 66; joins Washington, 71, 
72; at Trenton, 98, loi, 104, no; at 
Princeton, 137 

Tarleton, Banastrc, iii. 67 
Tea-duty, imposition of, i. 5, 92 
Thackeray, W. M., i. 210 n. 
Thomas, General, militar>' abiUty, i. 
324; in siege of Boston, 367, 369 ; in- 
vades Canada, ii. 82 ; retreats, 83 ; 
his death, 84, 224 
Thornton, John, i. 116, 117 
Thurlow, Lord, i. 103, 104, 123 
Ticonderoga, captured by Ethan Allen, 
i. 364, ii. 78, 79 ; occupied by Gates, 
229; .\merican garrison at, 237, 329 
Tilghman, Captain, ii. 319 n. 
Tookc, John Home, i. 20, iii. i7on. 3 
Townshend, Charles, i. 5, 74, 176 
Townshend, Lord, i. 125 
Transports, life on British, ii. 99, 100 
Trenton, N.J., Massachusetts dele- 
gates to Philadelphia Congress at, i. 
193; occupied by Hessians, iii. 21; 
headquarters of Colonel Rail, 86-97 ; 
Washington's victory at, 97-124 
Trumbull, Jonathan, ii. 216, iu. 125 
Tryon, Governor, ii. 239, 240, 310, iii. 

96, 300 
Tubbs, John, iii. 196 
Tucker, Dean, iu. 253, 254, 309 n. 2, 319 
Turgot, Anne Robert Jacques, i. 169 
Tyler, Professor, i. i «., 197 «., 248 w., 
379 »., ii. no n., 151 n. 2, 165 and«., 
iii. 232 n. 2, 290 n. 2, 291 n. 

Valcour Island, ii. 323-333 
Van Rensselaer estate, ii. 219 
VardiU, John, iii. 289, 290 ». i 
Vassall, John, i. 187 



Vernon, Mount, i. 54 n. 

Virginia, new Constitution of, ii. 129; 

Established Church in, iii. 276,, 318 
Virginia Assembly, i. 190, 192, 195 
Voltaire, i. 69 n. 

Wagers on the war, iii. 222 

Wages in America, i. 64 

Waldeckers, ii. 43, 322, iii. 124 

Walpole, Horace, on cost of living in 
England, i. 22 ; allusion to, 36 ; men- 
tion of Washington, 53 ; on the de- 
generacy of English pohticians, 125, 
135 ; on England's gilded youth, 140; 
estimate of the Duke of Richmond, 
150; on oratory, 167 w. ; end of his 
Parhamentary career, 203 ; on Fox's 
Parliamentary career, 205 ; on Gren- 
ville's Act, 209; on Parliamentary 
elections, 210; on EngUsh pohtics, 
211; on the subjection of America, 
230 ; on Fox's oratory, 236 ; on the 
attitude of Government toward 
America, 250; ridicules the idea of 
frightening the Philadelphia Con- 
gress, 359; his letters to Mann 
quoted, ii. 4, 5, iii. 62, 143, 154, 155, 
221, 237 ; on the lethargy of the Op- 
position, ii. 56 ; on the Howes, 265 n. 
2; on the news of Washington's 
retreat, 291 ; on Mrs. Macaulay's 
History, iii. 247; on Wesley's 
"Calm Address," 264 

Walpole, Thomas, ii. 59 

Walter, Rev. William, i. 376 

Warburton, Bishop, i. 3 

Ward, General Artemas, i. 293, 300, 
310, 323, 355, ii. 180 

Warren, James, i. 179, ii. 107, 108 

Warren, John, i. 385 

Warren, Joseph, i. 68, 90, 268, 273, 276, 
277, 288, 300, 306, 315, 375, ii. I 

Warren, Sir Peter, i. 251 

Warton, Thomas, i. 223 

Washington, George, early training in 
warfare, i. 53-55> 321 ; opposition to 
the Stamp Act, 74; offers to raise 
men for the relief of Boston, 192 ; "a 
guiding-spirit" at the Philadelphia 
Congress, 222; popular admiration 

for, 23 s ; on the retreat from Lexing- 
ton, 289; estimate of American 
forces at Bunker's Hill, 312; nomi- 
nated commander-in-chief, 320; in 
command at the siege of Boston, 
320-329; correspondence with Gage 
and Burgoyne, 337 ; founds Ameri- 
can navy, 341, 342 ; on the burning 
of Norfolk, 346, 347 ; his struggle 
against difficulties, 348-356; seizes 
and fortifies Dorchester Heights, 
356-373; relieves Boston, 373-39©; 
sends Benedict Arnold to invade 
Canada, ii. 79 ; re-enforces Sullivan, 
83, 180; his public speaking, 121; 
importuned by WilUam Gordon, 123, 
350. 351; on Paine's "Common 
Sense," 152; at Boston, 172-179; his 
military talents, 175, 176; his New 
York army, 180-208; weak in cav- 
alry, 203, 204, and in artillery, 205; 
disapproves Gates's retirement to 
Ticonderoga, 230; plot to assassi- 
nate him, 247 ; his position as servant 
of Congress, 250; insists on his mili- 
tary title, 255-257 ; on Long Island, 
269-292 ; evacuates New York, 296; 
at Haerlem Heights, 300; at White 
Plains, 312; wholesale desertions of 
his troops, 333-335, iii- 17-19; his 
method of dealing with marauders, 
ii. 344-346 ; his share in the disaster 
at Fort Washington, iii. 5, 12; retreats 
to New Brunswick, 19 ; abandons the 
Jerseys and crosses the Delaware, 
20, 21 ; badly supported by Charles 
Lee, 41-56; granted full powers by 
Congress, 70, 144; character of his 
soldiers, 80; his secret intelligence, 
92-95 ; victorious at Trenton, 97- 
124, and Princeton, 125-147; effect 
of his successes upon his reputation 
in Europe and his influence in Amer- 
ica, 142, 143 ; he reorganises the 
Continental army, 144-147 ; his re- 
ligious belief and practice, 308-310 

Washington, John Augustine, iii. 58 

Washington, Martha, i. 321 

Washington, Captain William, iii. 76, 
77, 107 



Watson, George, i. 183 
Watson, Prof. Richard, ii. 14 
Wayne, Anthony, iii. 57, 72 
Wealth, effects of sudden increase of, 

i. 19-24 
Webster, Daniel, ii. 272 
Webster's (John) "Duchess of Malfi," 

quoted, i. 71 
Wcdderburn, Alexander (Lord Ross- 

lyn), i. 56, 123, 139, 161-163, 237, 240 
Wellington, Duke of, a strict discipli- 
narian, iii. 36-39 
Wentworth, John, iii. 229, 230 
Wentworth, Paul, ii. 190. 206 
Wesley, Rev. John, i. 116, ii. 5-8, 10, iii. 

164, 201, 259-265, 307-309 
Westchester loyalists, ii. 333-349 
West Indies, their interests affected by 

the war, ii. 60, 62, 63 
West Point, ii. 200 n. i 
Wcmouth, Lord, ii. 27. 28, 31 
W liigs, liurkc's relations with the, 

i. 120-133 
Whitefield, George, i. 47, 49, 159 n 

Whiteford, Caleb, i. 400 

Whitehead, William, i. 182 n., 222, 223, 

ii. 103 n., iii. 175 and n. 
Wlute Plains, N.Y., ii. 306-322 
Wiederhold, Lieutenant Andreas, iii. 

88, 89, 104, 120 M. 
Wilkes, John, i. 57, 132, 153, 168, 219, 

220, 237, ii. 22, 103, 166, iii. 171, 

183 «., 185 
Wilkinson, Major, iii. 66 
Williams, Major, i. 316 
Williams, Roger, iii. 267 
Williamsburg, Va., i. 192, 222 
Wilmington, N.C., i. 190 
Winthrop, John, iii. 288 n. 
W ithcrsjxjon, Dr. John, ii, 158, iii. 31- 

.33, 291 
Wobum, Mass., i. 287 
Worcester,, i. 183, 185, 284 
Wyndham, Sir William, i. 155 
Wynkuop, Commodore, ii. 234 

Valp: Colleck, plundered by Gov- 
ernor Tr>'on, ii. 240, iii. 277, 278 ». i 

S -c HO ^ 
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